Romania - Entrepreneurial skills
Many VET providers establish ˈtraining companies (virtual companies) as part of their approach to helping learners prepare for employment. These training companies seek to simulate businesses and, as far as possible, replicate the everyday decisions and activities that learners will find when they enter the world of work. In Romania, the national system has the following main objectives:
- increase the number of VET graduates entering the labour market;
- reduce the amount of time it takes for learners to adjust to work;
- help VET learners to adapt to the changing needs of the workplace;
- encourage VET learners to take a positive attitude to risk and taking initiative.
These virtual companies are based on the concept of ˈlearning by doingˈ and they are managed by a specialist coordinator within each institution. The VET learners develop a business idea following a study of the market, identify the opportunities that exist in the market, elaborate a company project plan, and simulate its implementation. As far as possible, the training companies use the same equipment, specialist software and business approaches used by industry. Learners are expected to acquire the key competences that are needed by industry in order for them to set up their own business or join a company. Their learning is based on observation, mentoring and completing real-world activities which are necessary for a business to succeed and grow in a competitive environment. VET learners succeed when they acquire and demonstrate the core competences that they or their employers need to be successful in the real world.
This approach to training is successful when the simulated business offers high quality opportunities. Since 2008 an annual national competition has awarded a ˈQuality Markˈ to those training companies with excellent quality assurance processes. This asks competitors to demonstrate that VET learners:
- are developing the skills needed for business;
- have the IT skills and competences required for starting their own business;
- are acquiring the skills and competences associated with professional behaviour i.e. they "know what to do and know how to do it";
- have the communication and language skills needed for business.
The Quality Mark is a label of excellence and confirms that an agreed set of quality standards are being used in implementing the ˈtraining companyˈ approach to learning.
One of the institutions that regularly participates in these national competitions is the Higher Commercial School "Nicolae Kretzulescu" in Bucharest, where many learners are involved in the development of training companies. One of these virtual companies - Whispers of Elegance Ltd –has been awarded the Quality Mark label for its work in:
- preparing the documentation that is required to set up a business;
- securing start-up funding;
- undertaking commercial activities;
- organising a simulated annual general meeting;
- securing commercial contracts;
- completing these commercial contracts.
The school has also successfully participated at international training fairs organised for ˈtraining companiesˈ in Prague and Bratislava in 2011 and in Prague in 2012.
The school maintains the quality of its provision by ensuring VET learners receive support to develop their entrepreneurial skills in a real world situation. In particular the school ensure that their training uses:
- the actual working methods and specific activities of a real company;
- simulations to demonstrate working methods and processes, and effective working relationships between the training company and external contractors and customers;
- activities which deepen and improve the business language and communication skills of VET learners;
- approaches which focus on the development of the specific competences and skills required by the industry and by those who wish to start their own business