International project to promote vocational education concluded


In Brazil, the Westerwelle Foundation has concluded its international project for the promotion of vocational education. The 17 fellows of The DO School presented an innovative concept to strengthen vocational education worldwide.

Abschlusspräsentation der Fellows

The Westerwelle Foundation has completed its project for the international promotion of vocational education. The project was initiated by the Westerwelle Foundation in collaboration with Sinal do Vale and The DO School. For its conclusion, the DO school fellows presented their finalized concept, the “UpNetwork”. This network will seek to efficiently create links between youths, enterprises, and innovative solutions.

The Apprenticeship Challenge was launched at the beginning of the year. For nine weeks, 17 young social entrepreneurs from 14 different countries worked to devise measures to promote vocational education and apprenticeships worldwide. The goal was to contribute a feasible idea to the fight against global youth unemployment.

The UpNetwork will connect youths with enterprises and solution providers. As a global platform, the UpNetwork’s central task will be to identify opportunities for the training of young people in skills relevant to innovative economic sectors and to pass on such opportunities to local institutions, so-called “UpSites”. The latter, in turn, will be responsible for providing training to local youths and for establishing links to local enterprises.

“The UpNetwork is the result of both innovative and goal-oriented thinking on the question of how to qualify young people for the job market,” commented Michael Mronz, Chairman of the Westerwelle Foundation. He added that the concept of a network allowed for the efficient communication of existing needs as well as for the productive linking of existing resources to stakeholders: “In many places, vocational training is still not sufficiently geared towards the needs of the enterprises that could act as employers.” Mronz stated that the UpNetwork facilitated a form of vocational training that aligned itself with the needs of the market.

Mronz furthermore praised the collaboration with The DO School and Sinal do Vale: “The collaboration of all partners, and in particular of the fellows, who have contributed their diverse experiences as entrepreneurs from vastly different countries, has made it possible to conceive a measure to combat a global problem. Almost all societies worldwide are affected by youth unemployment.” Vocational training, he explained, created long-term employment perspectives for young people which were at the heart of a self-determined future.

Additional praise for the collaboration came from Florian Hoffmann, founder of The DO School: “The Westerwelle Foundation supported our fellows, but they also challenged them.” He added that the final results showed that the fellows had risen to the occasion: “Operating on both global and local levels, the UpNetwork creates synergies that so far have been notably absent from the field of vocational training.”

After the challenge’s conclusion, the fellows will continue to be part of The DO School’s programme. During a 10-month long Implementation Phase, they will have the opportunity to implement and develop their own ventures in their home countries.