The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) organised a study visit in Prague on 21-22 May 2019. The co-host was the Czech Chamber of Commerce. The theme of the meeting was the role of chambers in apprenticeships. The wonderful milieu of the old town Prague sparked interesting thoughts on the first day, while on the second day we had the opportunity to travel to Mlada Boleslav and visit the Skoda Academy.
The Czech Republic has not yet re-introduced the dual system in vocational education that was prevalent before the second world war. The Chamber of Commerce is lobbying heavily for apprenticeships as a modern form of vocational training, and the event was a step towards this.
Apart from interesting panel discussions involving various stakeholder representatives, there was a possibility to visit some of the most modern vocational training venues including robotics labs at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics, a IT vocational school in the city centre, Smichov and the Skoda Academy where they offer both traditional vocational education in professions related to car manufacturing from car mechanic to logistics or marketing experts, and adult learning/further education for Skoda employees.
In the Czech Republic there is a need to improve the quality and parallel with it the attractiveness of vocational education making it a first choice that is also the foundation for those who decide to change to academic pathways later on. They have made some improvement. We were told that from the IT school we visited the majority of students go on to university.
We have also learned about the scheme Skoda offers to their students to support transition from school to work. All their graduates are automatically entitled to have a first job at Skoda, so even if they decide to continue their studies at university, they are employed after graduation.
Skoda Academy also showed interest in piloting the parental engagement tools and training we are developing as part of our EAfA Pledge.