Summary of the Final narrative report for PRACTing project

At the very beginning of the PRACTing project, activities were directed towards the preparation for the successful project implementation. The focus was on the opening of bank account, visiting Austrian project where the project team had an opportunity to get acquainted with its creators and use the experiences in the best possible manner. Thereafter, a call was published on the website of the Faculty of Economics, University of Montenegro, providing the interested students with an opportunity to apply for the project.

In the meantime, a call for procurement of IT equipment was published, which was successfully implemented, whereas a call for the procurement of office furniture was announced twice. In the second reporting period, the implementation of training started, and towards the end of the project, in line with the planned activities, a round table that gathered members of the business community as well as participants of the PRACTing project was organized. Towards the end of April 2017, a visit to the International Fair of Enterprises was organized. It is important to note that the deadline for the implementation of the project was extended until 31 May 2017, after submitting a request which was approved by the relevant Ministry. All the aforementioned activities have been completed successfully and in accordance with the planned activities, and a more detailed elaboration of their implementation is given below.

 

A special account was opened in CKB bank. The account was opened with a slight delay, causing the money to be transferred to this account on 18 July (by the Faculty of Economics – 4,500.00€, and on 24 August the Ministry of Education transferred the amount of 42,890.00 €).

Call for engagement of two external consultants in the field of entrepreneurship was announced and after the evaluation process agreements were signed with the experts.

The next activity included the tender for purchase of IT equipment, for fitting the computer classroom with adequate equipment to be used in the process of training and education of students. The best bidder was selected and in the beginning of October the equipment was delivered, and the Faculty of Economics paid for purchased equipment, in accordance with the contract.

In addition, another tender was published for fitting classrooms with furniture, but due to poor interest the tender had to be announced for the second time. After the second tender, the best bidder was selected, with which the activity related to the procurement of the office equipment was successfully completed.

As part of the planned activities, a working team of the PRACTing project, consisting of dean and vice dean of the Faculty of Economics, project team leader, 2 external experts (consultants) and two representatives of the Centre for Vocational Education (as representatives of partner institutions at national level) carried out a study visit to Austria during the period from 15 to 17 September. The team had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Michael Poll, who conveyed the experience and showed how the centre operates. The team also visited the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and Business Centre where the host was Mr. Rudolf Domotor. The following day, the team visited the Austrian Service Centre, ACT Office, where general information about training companies and ACT service centre was given, along with a presentation of basic services they provide, which are of great and significant help for the “Virtual Enterprise” program.

The call for admission of students to take part in the Virtual Enterprise training program was published. The first call was published 05 October, and the deadline for submitting applications was 12 October 2016. Since in the first call a critical number of students did not apply, the admission of applications was extended until 22 October 2016.

In the first reporting cycle, the tender for equipping classrooms with furniture (repeated tender) was completed and the best bidder was selected, with whom the dean signed the Agreement on equipping classrooms.

As part of the planned activities, external consultants Mr. Radivoje Drobnjak and Mr. Velibor Bošković worked with students two times a week on the planned topics necessary for students to awaken their entrepreneurial spirit and to be able to carry out their business idea later. Within the scope of their duties, the experts carried out intensive communication with students (by email or directly) in order to better develop and design their business ideas. Business visits were also conducted in order to see the practical application of the acquired knowledge on the site. Students and experts expressed willingness to continue communicating through the Facebook group “Virtual Enterprise”.

Also, as part of the planned activities of the PRACTing project, a round table with employers was organized on 11 April 2017. Students had the opportunity to talk with employers about the importance of gaining practical knowledge during the studies, labour market situation and the prospects that await them in the near future. The round table brought together a significant number of employers, who in the open and intensive discussion with students exchanged views on the current situation in the labour market, skills and knowledge to which students need to pay special attention and importance (for more details http://ekonomija.ac.me/vijesti/9888/okrugli-sto-u-okviru-projekta-practing, http://www.ucg.ac.me/objava/blog/1226/objava/6-okrugli-sto-u-okviru-projekta-practing).

This round table provided an opportunity for connecting students and representatives of the business community with the aim of conducting internships in real companies.

Activity (5) - Students showed significant interest in gaining practical skills in real companies of employers that attended the round table and some agreements were made in this direction. Employers stated their concerns about students’ motivation and dedication for internship programs, because of previous experiences that were not successful. Agreements between students and employers were made on a one-to-one basis, and several students choose a best match out of the companies which attended the round table, to possibly start with work in order to apply in practice what they learned in theory during the course.

After the round table, individual work of students was arranged in the companies whose representatives were present. However, mostly due to the beginning of the examination term, and partly because it is not ensured that this activity will be valued in the teaching process, students were not interested in a longer stay and internships in companies, but they used their participation in the Virtual Company and the Round Table to exchange contacts as a possibly of the future “apprenticeship” in these companies. It can be considered that this activity partly justified the purpose, but we hope that with the adoption of the new Law on Higher Education, in the coming years, the practice will only gain importance.

Other Activity (6) involved a visit to the International Fair of practical skills. Namely, in the period from 25 to 30 April 2017, students of Faculty of Economics, together with the project coordinator prof. Ana Lalević Filipović, PhD, and external expert Velibor Bošković had the opportunity to visit the International Fair of Training that was organized in Bulgaria (Plovdiv) (more details: http://www.ekonomija.ac.me/vijesti/10124/studenti-ucesnici-project-PRACTing-visited-international-fair-enterprises-for-exercise).

The event (http://www.buct.org/) gathered a large number of participants from the countries of South Eastern Europe and was an opportunity for students to test their knowledge generated through the Virtual Enterprise project. Thanks to the above, students had the opportunity to become involved in activities that took place at the fair, and to communicate with the participants, as well as with their teachers and share their experiences, complement the existing knowledge.

Finally, it is important to note that due to certain objective circumstances, an extension of the period for implementation of the project was requested, which was approved, so the completion of the project was postponed to 31 May 2017.