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Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Sofia launched Pilot Project “Dual Education in Bulgaria” - quality education for the needed work-force

2. July 2015

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, supported by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, launched a pilot project called “Dual Education in Bulgaria”. Starting with the school year 2015/16, participating students from vocational schools will receive practical training in cooperation with renowned companies in 11th and 12th grade in addition to their theoretical studies in school. They will gain real-life work experience and will receive remuneration for the time working at the companies during the practical education.

The project will first be launched in two different cities with two different professions. In Sofia, students have the opportunity to become qualified retail sales(wo)men. Theory modules will be taught at the Sofia School of Economics and Finance. The practical training will take place at the well-known retail companies Billa Bulgaria, dm Bulgaria, Kaufland Bulgaria, Lidl Bulgaria and Metro Bulgaria. In Gabrovo, dual training in the field of mechatronics is offered. Students will study at the professional technical school “Dr. Nicolas Vasiliadi” and receive practical training at Ceratizit Bulgaria AG and GWG Gabrovo Ltd.

For this dual training pilot project, new curricula and programs have been developed by working groups consisting of educational experts and representatives of the participating companies to meet the current needs of businesses and to ensure a high quality and up-to date education of relevance for the Bulgarian economy.

The practical training will take place in 11th and 12th grade and will be conducted by a qualified instructor, who is a specially trained employee of the company. The training is designed to give students the necessary practical knowledge and qualifications to work in their chosen professions, as well as to teach them to take responsibility. After the successful completion of the program, the students will receive two certificates: the diploma of secondary education and a certificate of their qualifications in their chosen field.

The dual training program has advantages for both employers and students. Employers have the possibility to select motivated and talented students to train them in their desired profession. The companies will offer the students a high quality education, as they hope the students will become loyal members of their workforce after graduation. Companies will save time and money, because they do not have to hire unqualified personnel that might discover after expensive training that they are not fit for the profession. By participating in this pilot project, companies will be able to compete more effectively in today’s dynamic and globalized economy. Having qualified and motivated personnel is a key factor for a successful business.

The students benefit from the dual training program as well. By combining theoretical with practical skills from a young age on, they will have more opportunities on the labor market afterwards. They will be qualified specialists after completion of the dual training program, which gives them excellent employment perspectives. During the program they will sign employment contracts and receive remuneration for their work done at the company, which amounts 90% of the minimum wage depending on the time spent in the company.

The students are not required to stay with the company after graduating from the program. They will be free to take any other job offers. Thus, the companies participating in the program are not just driven by self-interest. They are investing in education in general, and thereby contributing to the overall economic development of the whole country.

After the successful implementation of the first classes in the dual system this year, the project aims at attracting more and more companies and students over time, and thereby contributing to a better quality of education, higher competitiveness of companies, higher wages for employers and more developed regions.


For more information contact:

Sofia Damianova
Project Manager Dual Education
Austrian Embassy – Commercial Section 
T: +359 2 953 15 53