* The abbreviation of the project name in Bulgarian forms the word “opit” which means “experience”.
The project “Training, Practices and Initiatives in Tourism (OPIT)” is a result of the joint efforts of a consortium in which Bulgarian Youth Forum is an applicant and coordinating organization. “OPIT” was approved by the Bulgarian National Agency “Human Resources Development Center” under “Erasmus+” programme, Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals, sub action “Mobility projects in the field of education, training and youth” and more precisely “Mobility project for VET learners and staff”. The project aims at increasing the knowledge, skills and competencies of 80 students from 3 Vocational High Schools of Tourism, catering and food processing technologies from different regions of the country, namely: Vocational High School of Tourism and Administration “Aleko Konstantinov” in the city of Sapareva Banya, Vocational High School of Food Processing and Chemical Technology in the city of Dupnitsa, Vocational High School of Trade and Restaurant Business in the city of Vratsa. It will be implemented through a two-week vocational training placement at a workplace (at a hotel) between 16 and 30 April 2015 in the hotel complex Anastasia Resort & Spa 5*, located in Nea Sioni, Greece. The settlement is situated in the southern part of Kassandra peninsula, on the Thessaloniki gulf coast, 110 km far from Thessaloniki. Students will be selected from classes providing training for hotel managers and administrators, office assistants, receptionist, catering, etc., based on their skills and experience acquired during their formal education. The selection will be carried out by a selection committee with the assistance of teachers / trainers from the VET Schools involved in the consortium. Among the set selection criteria are the level of preparation in the field of tourism, good knowledge of foreign language and motivation. During the mobility the trainees will be able virtually to familiarize themselves with the entire activity of the hotel and its staff and they will be able to participate in the day to day activities of the receptionist, manager, chef, barman, waiter and other, responsible for the maintenance, service and logistics of the hotel.
The project will contribute to the improvement and enhancement of the professional skills of participants, their motivation for an active participation in the learning process and the use of all opportunities for actively seek and amass knowledge and skills as a part of the lifelong learning process. The students will improve their language training to a level of independent-use of English language with terminology specific to the chosen profession. They will acquire skills such as accuracy, precision, discipline and ability to work in a team and will become familiar with new trends, requirements and quality standards in the tourism sector in Europe. The students will gain a first-hand understanding of the business needs and conditions in the labor market and will increase their employability. The two-week vocational training at a workplace will be considered an effectively passed traineeship (pre-graduation condition) after the successful return to Bulgaria.
On the other hand, the forming of a consortium of several institutions and organizations in VET from different regions in the country with the support from the business representatives will help in the dissemination of the results, experience and best practices among much larger audience and potentially stakeholders. This, in turn, will significantly enhance the impact of the successful implementation of planned project activities, both locally and regionally.
The effective project implementation and the achievement of the intended goals will contribute to the increase in the attractiveness and popularity of VET and will contribute to the building of an effective relationship between the business and the educational sector and will help to close the cycle of learning – practice – employment at the labor market.