Slovenian Companies Hope for an Increase in the Interest of Secondary Vocational School Students in Professional Scholarships

Students of secondary vocational schools show less interest in professional scholarships than commercial companies would like to. Enterprises expect students to be motivated, willing to learn, to demonstrate creativity and responsibility.

In the last academic year, according to official data, 1,694 enterprises allocated scholarships for 1,120 students of colleges and lyceums and 1,684 students of universities.

On the Izmenjevalnica website all relevant professional scholarships allocated by the country’s enterprises are presented.

In recent years, experiencing a shortage of specialists, many enterprises have again decided to allocate professional scholarships, and some are currently preparing to apply this practice. For example, Livar and Mercator have already completed this year’s competition for professional scholarships. The participation in this competition was available for students of shortage professions: a butcher, a waiter, and a seller. The Niko Company has started to allocate scholarships due to the fact that in five years the majority of its employees will retire. The management requires candidates to work for the company after completing their studies during the period, which is twice longer than the period of scholarship payment. The labour-rent period in the Lek Company, which this year has renewed the practice of awarding scholarships, is also exactly twice as long as the period for obtaining a scholarship.

Many students are practicing in companies, therefore employers know personally all candidates for the scholarship, and thus it is easier for them to decide in favour of one or another applicant. The Mahle Company, which currently employs 153 scholarship holders, as a rule allocates 30 scholarships for one academic year. However, this year, due to a significant shortage of staff, the company has allocated 45 scholarships. Representatives of the company emphasize that the opening of new offices in Ljubljana and Maribor will give an opportunity to participate in the competition for scholarships not only to students from the Primorska region (Slovene Littoral), but also from other regions of the country. Applicant’s interest is an important criterion for taking a positive decision. Mahle has currently employed 2 scholarship holders. This year, the company plans to allocate 15 scholarships.

This year, the Titus Company, which has allocated 23 scholarships for schoolchildren and students, has for the first time registered for participation in the tender for co-financing of professional scholarships. In order to increase interest in engineering and technical professions, the company cooperates intensively with the basic and secondary schools of the Obalno Kraška region.

The law stipulates that after completing a study programme, a student must be employed according to the profession, for mastering of which a relevant scholarship was paid. At the same time, graduates are not allowed to immediately continue their studies with the exception of college students who, after receiving a basic secondary vocational education, wish to continue their education in the technical field, as well as students planning to receive a Master’s degree.

Applications of candidates do not imply an automatic allocation of scholarships. Companies require students to fulfil their academic obligations in good faith and pass practice within their premises. Employers also wish that students’ seminar, research and diploma papers were related to the activity of the employing company. After the end of the scholarship period, students must work for the scholarship providing companies at least for a period similar to the period of receiving the scholarship.

In turn, the Impol Company notes that the number of applications currently necessitates to conduct a selection round. The Talum Company, which has been allocating scholarships since 1964 and has employed 364 scholarship holders only for the last 13 years, informs that an interest in obtaining professional scholarships, including for shortage occupations, exists, but does not grow substantially.

To increase interest in shortage professions, the Iskra Mehanizmi Company relies on active cooperation with secondary schools and faculties and join the apprenticeship programmes attracting students of basic schools. The Ljubljanske Mlekarne Company also develops cooperation with schools. In the current year, the company provides practice for twice as many students as it did a year ago. The Pomgrad construction company all year round receives applications from candidates associated with shortage professions. A similar approach is applied in the Terme Krka resort. Applications are reviewed promptly, and the decision is made in favour of those students who have already passed their training practice or worked in this company.

The Adria Mobil Company notes that it does not need to open an official tender. The company prefers students of colleges and lyceums, as well as senior university students. Last year they allocated 15 scholarships.

During the whole year, the Krka Company has been accepting applications from candidates, which are received in large quantities. Meanwhile, applicants are notified in advance that the scholarship is not a guarantee of employment. In the process of hiring, students must prove that they meet all the requirements for a particular vacancy they are interested in.