The international conference “Good quality internships in a digital age“ which was organized by the Belgrade Open School, was held on April 10th 2019 in Belgrade. The conference gathered over 130 participants, including high school teachers as well as representatives of private and public organizations and institutions which are dealing with internships in vocational educational schools (VET) and improvement of youth employability. This was the closing event within the project “Virtual Internships for Vocational Education and Training (VIVET)” which was coordinated by the Belgrade Open School.
In the opening session, Ms. Biljana Marić, Assistant Minister for digitalization within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, emphasized that the priorities of the Ministry are linking the world of education and the world of work as well as further digitalization of education. “Belgrade Open School gave significant contribution to our country through innovative projects like this.”
Vukašin Grozdić, Advisor in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, said that the Cabinet gives great support for projects like this and that project “VIVET” coordinated by Belgrade Open School is very meaningful for digitalization of education.
“Quality internships are necessary for modern labour market” said Milorad Bjeletić, Executive Director of the Belgrade Open School. He further explained that BOS has been implementing programs for improvement of youth employability for more than two decades.
Ms. Sofija Dukic, Tempus Foundation: “Opportunities for improving the quality of internships for young people as well as adults, are far more available since Serbia has become a member of Erasmus+ Programme”.
Jelena Manić Radoičić, Programme Manager of BOS and coordinator of VIVET Project, presented the inital ideas and acchieved results of the project. She emphasized that all expectations are exceeded: “A great number of young people from vulnerable groups gained the opportunity to enhance their digital skills and skills needed for the labour market through this project”.
Ms. Giorgia Costalonga from Italy and Petya Grudeva from Bulgaria, the representatives of partner organizations, shared experiences with virtual internships in their countries as well as main conclusions and recommendations. Mentors and students from Technical School Užice, who were included in this project as partners, presented their experiences and products that were created as a result of the virtual internships. Experience were shared also by the other participants included in the project, high schools from Belgrade, Knjaževac and Bor.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear experts in the field of mentorship, Mr. Matteo Perchiazzi from Italy and Karel Van Isacker from Belgia.
At the conference the topics of elements of quality internships, challenges in the formal educational system and further perspectives that digitalization of working processes is bringing were also discussed.
VIVET is the first project dealing with virtual internships in the field of initial vocational education in the region. This is the reason why project partners have developed the Model for virtual internships which defines the steps that need to be undertaken in order to ensure that internships truly contribute to the development of students’ competences.
Belgrade Open School is the project coordinator, and project partners are INTERPROJECTS from Bulgaria, Technical School from Uzice and Padova University from Italy. The project is funded through the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.