“Practice Enterprises/Training firm” is a learning-by-doing method implemented in a broad range of secondary schools in the country by a specialised centre with the Ministry of Education and Science. Strategma Agency has established working collaboration with the centre in the preparation of competitive future employees with entrepreneurial spirit, sensitive to the company culture, i.e. people capable of creating their own business and having accumulated experience as a company team. The method offers integrated training in entrepreneurship, information technologies, business administration and sector specifics in schools in the form of a simulation of a real company and functions in a network.
The simulated firm (or farm in this case) will be set up by trainees with the assistance of a facilitator (a teacher trained for the purpose) to undertake commercial activities. It will provide the trainees with hand-on business skills in running a farm and enhance their knowledge and experience of the respective business practices. The main objective of this new module will be to foster entrepreneurial attitudes to farming among the students. The piloting will be assisted by a real mentor farmer whose products and services the training firm will silhouette and who will supply information on technical and management matters. Although there is no actual transfer of goods or money, transaction still take place in the form of making orders, issuing invoices and maintaining financial records.
The methodology was chosen as appropriate to this initiative, because it trains the ability to take initiative and self-reliance, and to deliver knowledge on how to establish and run a farm. The students learn how to take responsibility, develop self-initiative and improve their soft, professional and technical skills. In addition, they will be exposed to the opportunities that the CAP provides through its implementing funds.
In Bulgaria training companies are established in 70 schools nationwide, in a total of 55 cities and towns. The “training farm” that the project will create is expected to directly involve around 150 students per school, or a total of 10 500 students grades 10-12 across the country. This means that around 2% of the entire student population in the country will be directly involved in the project activity. Since the activity will be actively promoted in the involved schools in advance and during the implementation of the training farms, the number of students indirectly reached by this activity is expected to reach 28 000, or around 5% of the entire student population. To the group of indirectly reached target group members we should add the teachers in the involved schools, or some 2 500 in all participating schools.
The outputs of this activity will be: developed methodology for a “training farm”; designed training programme, developed training materials for the new module; trained teachers to be facilitators of the “training farm” module; module presented to all the schools with practice enterprises in the country; piloted training farm in 2 schools; negotiated launching of the new methodology with the Ministry of Education and Science in the following school year as a regular part of the training curriculum.