On 8th June 2018 a seminar on Dual Study in Higher Education – Apprenticeship Cluster in Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics was held in the conference room of the library of the Technical University of Gabrovo. It was organized by the Technical University of Gabrovo, MECHATRONIKA SC and Municipality of Gabrovo.

The seminar was attended by Nikolai Sirakov – deputy in the Bulgarian Parliament, Prof. Dr. Kostadin Kostadinov – advisor to the Minister of Education and Science, Nela Rachevits – vice-mayor of Gabrovo, Ventsislav Slavkov – chairman of the Managing board of the Cluster “Mechatronics and Automation”, Prof. Dr. Sc. Raycho Ilarionov – rector of the Technical University of Gabrovo, representatives of local and regional businesses, academic lecturers, students, representatives of professional organizations, etc.

During the seminar the participants were briefed on the objectives, target groups and products of the European project Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-ready Engineers of Tomorrow. The cluster structure and its functionalities were presented as well. A special emphasis was placed on the fact that through the implementation of the project the first step was being taken towards introducing work-based learning, also known as dual or cooperative study, in higher education in Bulgaria.

As pioneers in this area, however, the Technical University of Gabrovo and Mechatronika SC are confronting challenges arising from the existing regulatory framework, which impedes the recognition of dual study as an official form of higher education. All participants were summoned to combine their efforts and advocate amendments to the Higher Education Act, as well as to the National Classification of Occupations and Posts.

During the subsequent discussion different points of view were shared and problems and possible solutions were voiced, aiming to bridge the gap between the world of higher education and business.

Second partner meeting - Technical University of Gdansk, Poland

On 14th and 15th June 2018 the second partner meeting was held at the Technical University of Gdansk, Poland. During the meeting a monitoring report on the project progress was presented, as well as an action plan covering the next 6 months. In addition, the results from the internal and external evaluation were shown and corrective and preventive measures were outlined. The project dissemination strategy was examined, the dissemination events carried out so far were reported and the opportunities for organizing future activities were discussed. Furthermore, 2 workshops were conducted where the form and content of the e-modules for train-the-trainer courses (academic and company mentors) were defined.

The next project meeting will be held in January 2019 in Bulgaria.

Focus group - Poland

On December 8, 2017 Focus Group within the project entitled Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-Ready Engineers of Tomorrow (aCIRET, funded under the Erasmus+ programme KA3) was hosted in the premises of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Gdańsk University of Technology. The participants included the representatives of the Faculty authorities and teachers, representatives of local industry (Interizon ICT Cluster), education foundation (Foundation Educational Centre of Excellence), social partners (Project Department and Career’s Office), students, alumni, municipal authorities and members of the Polish project team.

The main objective of the focus group was to introduce the idea of Work Based Learning with focus on apprenticeship to the invited guests and to start the discussion regarding the engineering skills mismatch and the gap between the knowledge taught at the University and the demands and expectation of industry, especially in the field of mechatronics.

At the beginning of the meeting a presentation on the general idea of WBL was delivered. It was followed by a presentation on Interizon ICT Cluster and Foundation Educational Centre of Excellence.

The presentations were followed by a discussion session. All the invited guests actively participated in the discussion and provided valuable input comprising a basis for further discussion and the formulation of WBL curriculum that will hopefully serve as a tool bridging the gap between tertiary education and demands and expectations of industry in Poland.

All the parties agreed that while the project is very ambitious and will require a lot of effort to realize all the objectives, the expected results are sure to improve the overall situation on the regional job market.

First Step Towards Introducing Work-based Learning at Tertiary Level

On 1st December 2017 a Focus Group was held in the Library of the Technical University of Gabrovo. It was organized within the European project Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-ready Engineers of Tomorrow funded under the Erasmus+ programme KA3. The focus group idea is to bring together the sectors of tertiary education and business supported by local authorities, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations, so as to identify the specific engineering skills mismatch at regional level in the field of Mechatronics

Lecturers, Phd students and students following a Bachelor degree course in Mechatronics from the TU of Gabrovo, company representatives Mechatronica, Elna, STS Pack Holding, Gabrovo Municipality, Gabrovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CL Podkrepa actively took part in the Focus Group. During the discussion they shared viewpoints, came up with suggestions regarding the problems under questions and defined a set of specific skills an engineer of tomorrow in the sector of Mechatronics should have in order to be able to compete successfully on the job market.

The results of the Focus Group will be summarized in the form of a partnership focus group report and provide the basis for a new curriculum and study programmes intended for a bachelor degree course in Mechatronics to be jointly developed by universities and business entities. The elaboration of the new curriculum will mark the first step towards introducing work-based learning and apprenticeships at tertiary level in Bulgaria.

15th November 2017 WBh Seminar - Graz, Austria

15th November 2017 WBh Seminar - Graz, Austria

13th - 14th November, 2017 Kick-off meeting - Graz, Austria

13th - 14th November, 2017 Kick-off meeting - Graz, Austria