The Project aimed to co-operate companies with vocational schools which provided an educational program in the company’s respective field of activity with a view to promote youth access to employment and foster qualified human capital required by labor market. In the mean time which is a kind of matching process was expanded to cover a broad range of activities, including scholarships, internships and voluntary coaching support to the students in the line with the needs and resource of schools and workplaces. It also focused on curriculum, material and laboratory support to improve the school’s infrastructure and educational content to keep up with today technologies.

In due to courses, the structure came to be known as “School – Workplace Matching Model” with all its components of support, including scholarships, curriculum, set up laboratories in VET Schools, internships, personal and vocational development and employment based trainings not only to the teachers but also to the students. On the very foundation of this structure lies the idea of building bridges between VET education and business communities by the means of conceiving sectoral collaboration between vocational schools and workplaces. Vocational High School Coaching practice, which was developed as a voluntary staff program within the framework of MLMM1(Meslek Lisesi Memleket Meselesi), is addressed separately as social responsibility project. Since it was not possible to scale up the program due to limited availability of resources, it was not included in the “School – Workplace Matching Model” or in a guide prepared on the behalf of this initiative. The current guide examines partnership initiatives based on the “School – Workplace Matching Model” that is currently in place in several companies outside the Koç Holding, founder and sponsor of the project. Koç Holding is the biggest industrial company of Turkey. It was put together to serve schools and companies that aspire to pursue similar partnership efforts to enhance the quality of vocational education.

The failure to foster a productive and systematic relationship between students choice of departments at the vocational and technical schools and the corresponding sectors induces the double challenge of unemployment and shortage of qualified staff. Therefore a partnership approach that enables coordination between the vocational and the enterprises in the corresponding sectors, rises to prominence gradually. The surge in the population waiting to join the workforce and the growth of the industry and service sectors at the national level, coupled with the rise of vocational education standards in line with the EU harmonization process at the international level, intensify the need for a collaborative approach between vocational education schools and workplaces.

1 Short form of the Project, Meslek Lisesi Memleket Meselesi which means VET is the issue of a country

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Needs Analysis

For the school – workplace match to thrive, it is of critical importance for companies that collaborate with schools in the field of vocational education to analysis would allow companies to develop collaborative relationships that are mutually productive in the long run. Therefore, the first and most crucial step for companies prior to any partnership is an accurate analysis of the qualities and quantity of employees that they consider employing in the medium and long run, depending on their fields of activity and their needs.

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Determining Schools Which are Co-operated

Once the field of operation and the quantity of people to employ is identified, the next step is to get in touch with authorities from the Ministry or Provincial Directorate of National Education* who are known to be open to all sorts of advice to improve vocational education and a positive demeanor towards partnerships. They are consulted for their opinions and advice on which schools to coolaborate with, after which school principals are asked to provide information about the school. The school(s) are identified after a thorough evaluation of factors such as the school’s geographical proximity to the company; an administration, teachers, students, and parents who are ready to collaborate; presence of departments corresponding to the employment needs; and school’s existing connections with the company.

(* Depending on the content of the partnership, the level of the authority to contact with from the Ministry of Education may change. For instance, in case of a possible partnership that covers schools in more than one province, it is preferable to get in touch with the pertinent General Directorate within the Ministry of Education in order to identify the schools and workplaces to be matched. On the other hand, should the workplace choose to develop partnership with an already familiar school, it may directly get in touch with the School Administration. Where there is lack of adequate knowledge regarding the schools in the region, workplaces should first contact the Provincial Directorate of Education in order to have a good command of the local vacational education opportunities.)

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Launching Departments at Schools

When companies fail to locate a department that fits their sector in their region, they contact the employer unions regarding the departments they would like to see launched at schools in tandem with their needs. The union officers, the Director of IŞKUR (Turkish Employment Agency) in the respective province, Provincial Director of Education, academicians, representatives of chambers of industry and commerce, and representatives af workers’ unions attend the Provincial Employment and Vocational Education Board meetings held in 81 provinces and voice their opinions as to which departments should be launched at which schools in response to the needs of the sector. Furthermore, they directly get in touch with the Director of IŞKUR and Provincial Director of Education to articulate their demands and enable a discussion of the issue at the Provincial Employment Board.
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Partnership Protocol

Once the school/department is identified as a partner, all components of the partnership (scholarship, intership, employment, etc.) fall in place, the next step is to set up and sign a protocol that stipulates the partnership conditions.
Depending on the particular needs of the partnering companies and departmens, components such as internships, laboratories and workshops may differ from those in the MoE(Ministry of Education) curriculum in terms of their content and duration. Upon negotiations between companies and the MoE, the differences are offset and a protocol is signed upon mutual agreement of the parties.
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Scholarship, Internship, Employment and Personal – Vocational Development Support for Students

Companies may reach out to students in order to contribute to their personal and vocational education within the scope of the school – workplace cooperation. They can do so by taking into account their needs analysis with regard to human capital, and the opportunities at the schools they are matched with. Offering scholarships to encourage youngsters to opt for certain areas of vocational education and to support their education; organizing trips, seminars, etc. for their personal development, offering inhouse internships and prioritized employment opportunities, will all contribute to the growth of prospective employees for the company.

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Designating Representatives at Companies

Companies may designate representatives to act as bridge between the school and the workplace and follow up on corporate – level cooperation such as scholarships, internships, employment support for students, curriculum development, lab setup, as well as personal and vocational development of students, internships, and teacher – parent relations. In companies above a certain number of employees, it is the master instructors or teaching staff who carry out a similar level of follow – up. A successful partnership between these representatives and school administration is crucial regarding a decent management of the process of choosing scholarship grantees from among motivated students with limited financial means, job placement for interns, and following up on alumni.

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Laboratory Setup and Management, and Trainer Training

Companies can set up labs at schools in parallel with the requirements of their production processes. A regular update of the technical equipment and accurate management of lab upon setup is indispensable for the sustainability of the school – workplace matching practice. Lab setup and management necessitates an ongoing collaboration between the school and the workplace. The company, with the participation of the school administration, identifies students to be trained in the labs, holds updated trainer training for instructors, and crafts a training program based on the feedback. This upgrades the quality of education at schools, student profile and technological equipment and the opportunity arises for companies to bring up qualified, employable staff that has internalized the corporate culture. The company may support training of school instructors at these labs, contributing to in – service training.

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Skills Training in Companies

School – workplace partnership is also important in terms of internships. Companies designate the content and duration of skills training in line with their needs; they set up workshops where training is to be delivered, provide the technical setup, and hold trainer training sessions. A high quality internship contributes to the growth of students as professionals with high level of selfconfidence. Upon graduation, the ultimate goal of school – workplace partnership, that is, employment of highly qualified labor force, gets fulfilled as the students start working at the company where they had their intenship.

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Collaboration with other Stakeholders

Within the scope of the school – workplace matching model, companies may cooperate not only with schools but also with professional organizations such as chambers of commerce and industry, organized industrial zones, and other companies. Companies may encourage the launch of workshops in organized industrial zones so as to help schools and to mingle. In doing so, they can contribute to the sharing of cost in areas where there is a sectoral need.

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