The KCF grant support programme is intended to strengthen cooperative training and thereby to increase the quality and employment-relevance of vocational training measures. For this purpose, the KCF supports the establishment of consortia between schools and enterprises for the implementation of cooperative training programmes through MoU. To be eligible, project partners must be prepared to engage in joint training activities with the aim of qualifying trainees based on qualifications and/or occupational standards that correspond to the demand of the labour market.
Consortia should be formed from public or private (including non-profit) vocational training institutes which offer state-recognised (“accredited”) vocational training programmes leading to officially recognised qualifications that are in accordance with the regulations of national qualifications authorities, or the equivalent, and cooperating enterprises (including SMEs). Recipients of KCF financial support are VTIs as lead partners of a cooperative training consortium. Direct financial support to partnering enterprises cannot be obtained as part of KCF funding.
It is expected that the VET consortia will co-finance the cooperation training projects by making a matching contribution of at least 10% of total requested funding. The contribution may be provided financially and/or in-kind to the coverage of operational costs and/or investment costs by the vocational training institutes and/or enterprises or jointly.
The KCF is open to all organisations and institutions involved in technical and vocational training that issue a certificate for their training courses and/or are recognised in Kosovo. As one of the main objectives of the KCF is to address the practical aspect of vocational education and hence to increase the relevance of vocational training for enterprises, VTIs that have engaged or are willing to engage in cooperative training activities are the primary targets of the programme (for a more detailed overview of the concept of cooperative training, please see the KCF cooperative training guideline).
- VTIs are licensed by relevant authority/private VTIs are accredited
- VTIs are operating from at least 2 years
- Cooperative training project leads to a formally recognized qualification/is in line with national legal requirements, etc.
- The planned VET project focuses on training demand from priority sectors as identified in the national policies and economic development strategies.
- VTIs are supported by the relevant authorities to ensure the sustainability of the project for the upcoming period.
Enterprises joining the cooperative training consortia funded under the KCF will have identified investment and active engagement in capacity-building and staff development as one of their strategic goals. Applying enterprises may have already gained some experience with cooperative training initiatives or have decided to participate in them, are committed to supporting the delivery of cooperative training, and are ready to integrate elements of practical education in their work processes. These aspects play a central role in the assessment of project proposals submitted by consortia; in addition, participating enterprises are required to:
- Assign a cooperative training coordinator who will be in charge of planning and coordinating the training programmes
- Offer sufficient workplace learning capacities for all learners under the cooperative training project
- Confirm preparedness to employ graduates of the cooperative training programme
- Disclose financial statements of the last 2 years over the course of the application process
- Operate with a positive financial result in the year preceding submission of an Expression of Interest
Apart from the engagement of enterprises and VET schools and the regular reconfirmation of training needs, the quality and effectiveness of cooperative training programmes depends on the availability of adequate training facilities at VET schools. Suitable training workshops, the availability of relevant equipment and machinery, and the regular use of such facilities by teachers and trainees in the schools ensure that skills gained during the practical in-company learning contribute to the overall learning objectives. The goal of the KCF is to enable such investments, in the form of new procurements, construction or renovation work, and in this way strengthen the practical aspects of training courses. As a result, the added valued of the trainees for partner enterprises will increase and improve their employability in the local labour market. Although not a precondition, project proposals which foresee the introduction of new technologies are strongly encouraged by the KCF. Furthermore, the project application is expected to comply with the following criteria:
- The application must be submitted on time, i.e. by the submission deadline
- The cooperative training partnership (VET consortia) is to consist of one vocational training institute as lead partner and at least two cooperating enterprises
- The requested funding amount must range between EUR 100,000 and EUR 600,000
- The project partners may only be represented in one proposal per call
- The project proposal may not exclude any ethnic minority group from the offered training
- The project applicants commit to complying with international environmental, social, health, safety and labour standards during the execution of their projects
- The training programmes can also be carried out in a sustainable form after the completion of the project
- Any activities on the Exclusion List and Sectoral Guidelines of KfW Group
- Funding of O&M (operations and maintenance) costs
- Funding of physical investments (infrastructure, equipment) to be utilised by enterprises