Collaborative dual training…. Are you crazy?

Are the so-called « model » or « mature » dual-training systems so specific to their particular context that they cannot be transposed elsewhere? The question appears in every debate attempting to compare these systems and models. The CoTrain project was no exception.

The reasons that feed the doubts underlying this question are often of three sorts:

  • The model, mature systems are the result of a tradition, the product of a particular culture ;
  • In the mature systems, training is viewed as an investment, not a cost ;
  • The mature systems are the result of a strong, durable and stable professional training public policy.

If these elements were not found, chances of success would be weak. Even more so, as in the very beginning of the CoTrain project the « pilot » partners identified the following weaknesses (SWOT analysis) and bias:

  • Employers primary expectation regarding dual training would be profitability ; they would therefore be reluctant to « share their apprentices » ;
  • Secondary level dual training would mainly be the result of relegation ; the youths profiles would therefore be too weak for a collaborative model, which is more demanding ;
  • The primary expectations of youths in dual training would be to complete their training within a « one training – one company » model; they would therefore be reluctant to step out of their comfort-zone; also youths in dual training would not truly understand the requirements of the labour market.

To these three first handicaps, the partners in the project had to add… a wide gap between mature and ”less mature” systems, the gap between the regulatory and administrative framework, specifically tailored for the mature systems. To grasp the breadth of this gap, a quick overview…

The German and Austrian systems :

  • Implement a collaborative model based on the fact that a company which cannot cover the whole of a job profile is not allowed to offer dual-training ;
  • Are based around the company, with the primary role given to the chambers of commerce which accredit the companies, the contract… ;
  • Provide for collaborating companies to sign a service contract ;
  • Provides that the company leading the collaboration recruit the apprentices and pays wages and insurances for the whole duration of the training, including within the second company.

The Italian and Belgian systems (BeFr) :

  • Only implement the « one training – one company » model ;
  • Are based around the training centre. In BeFr, the training centre accredits the training company, with a certain allowance regarding job coverage. In Italy, companies are not accredited, but training centres are accredited and audited ;
  • Do not provide for anything regarding collaborative training ;
  • Professional training in Italy does not include retribution; collaborative training in BeFr was developed with a « one company, one contract, one retribution … » model.

Despite all of this, the three training centres partners in the CoTrain project developed collaborative training. Each managed to do so within their particular institutional framework and context.

Put together, the three « pilot » partners developed collaborative training in the following fields of activity:

  • Computer assisted conception in cutting edge industrial sectors ;
  • Catering and restaurant industry ;
  • Administrative support, in sales and real estate ;
  • Retail and other sales ;
  • Hairdressing ;
  • Bakery.

The objective now is to expand the CoTrain model to other sectors, including woodworking, electricity, structural works …

Each partner, in their context, was confronted with difficulties. In Italy, employers having just received information regarding the project responded, « You must be crazy… ». In Belgium, organisations active in professional training said, « this project is too ambitious… », implying that it would not succeed.

Despite this, the training centres managed. How? By relying on certain common fundamentals without borders and by integrating these fundamentals within their specific context, including within the Belgian specificities.

This answer is certainly not explicit. This is why we are inviting you to the conference on May 14th. You will find out more…!

You will meet Austrian, Italian, Belgian employers; youths who entered CoTrain, to their great satisfaction. Of course, you will also meet the pilot partners, filled with doubt in the beginning of the project, but also very determined and enthusiastic!

Discover CoTraiNewsletter 1, CoTraiNewsletter 2 & CoTraiNewsletter 3