Technical School in Obrenovac has a long-standing tradition of educating young people to become welders, an occupation that has been on the labour market’s most sought-after list of occupations for years now. Year after year, students from this school take part in numerous domestic and international welding competitions and, individually and in teams, in different welding categories and processes regularly rank at the top. Given the perspective this profession provides, the interest of young primary school graduates and their parents is far from dissipating, and the school has no problem of enrolling a full class of students in this occupation each year.
From 2014/15 school year, the welding training in this school has been taking place within a three-year locksmith-welder educational profile. It is precisely this educational profile that had made the Technical School Obrenovac one of the pioneers in implementing the dual education model in Serbia. The already solid cooperation with local companies delivering practical teaching was raised to an even higher level. Employers from Obrenovac and its surrounding, including small and medium privately owned companies and large state enterprises, have provided necessary conditions for students to obtain knowledge and skills that will make them competitive in the labour market. Besides spending great many hours in work-based learning in companies’ plants, students get to experience work with modern equipment under permanent supervision and mentorship of instructors who were trained to work with youth.
Following the full implementation of the Law on Dual Education, starting from 2019/20 school year, the companies working with the school assumed full obligations prescribed by the Law, including financial remuneration for students attending work-based learning with them. Nevertheless, based on former and current students’ testimonies, some companies go even further. Employees in certain companies have been known for collecting money for summer vacations for students of lower financial status who are doing their practice work with them. To those who are struggling with theoretical lessons, they help with studying and going through the lessons to help them get better grades in school. Students explain how in some companies they have encountered a true family atmosphere and how they spend time with their colleagues both at and outside of work.
The fact that approximately 70% of each generation’s graduates who pass the final exam in this education profile find a job, most of them in the profession they’ve studied for, best attests to the quality of locksmith-welders graduating from Technical School Obrenovac, be it in the company where they’ve completed their work-based learning or with other employers. Apart from student satisfaction, the companies receiving professional staff in this way are very happy too. Early on, the school had to reach out to companies and explain the benefits from collaborating with the education system, but now, the situation is quite different – the companies are the ones reaching out to the Technical School Obrenovac wishing to enrol students for work-based learning. and not just any job. We mostly work with small and medium enterprises whose owners we know, and we are fully aware how much they try to provide our students with quality work-based learning and a pleasant working atmosphere. Many of them treat our students as their own children, they know when they’re in love and who they’re in love with, if something is troubling them, some are arranging driving lessons for them and so on, all that goes above and beyond of what they’re required to provide”, Rajka Babić, the school headmistress, explains and adds: “Here at the Technical School we are at peace knowing that after they graduate, these young people are being left in safe hands”.