Wood manufacturer enables re-opening of wood processing vocational school after 22 years

Thanks to the extraordinary investment in education and re-opening of wood processing vocational school after 22 years, the population of Fojnica in Bosnia and Herzegovina has not declined due to migration but has been on the rise.

People

1

Money

EUR 25 000

Time

3 years

Organization

MS&WOOD

Country

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Location

Fojnica

Protection level

Project example
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Achievements
  • 300 employees from the local community (35% female, 65% male)
  • 30% women in managerial positions
  • Founding a vocational carpentry school for carpenters and wood technicians (last generation enrolled in 1993/1994 and classes for the professions re-initiated in 2015/2016)
  • 3 new teachers of technical subjects hired
  • Completed education of first-generation carpenters and wood technicians (3 classes, 25 students each)
  • Until now there were 3 generations of enrolled students, out of which 34 of them graduated (9 girls and 25 boys)
  • Scholarships obtained for all students (first-graders receive a BAM 50 scholarship, older ones BAM 70, regardless of the number of enrolled students)
  • Organizing professional field trips and visits to fairs related to furniture, machinery and furniture production equipment (first-graders visit fairs in B&H, others those in the vicinity – Zagreb, Belgrade; seniors visit foreign fairs)
  • At the end of the school year, three best practical projects receive an award at the MS&WOOD’s Open Day
  • The students with the highest grades in all the subjects are awarded with BAM 100
  • 32 students undertook a paid summer traineeship
  • Obtaining scholarships for students pursuing further education (domestically and internationally) – one female student at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

Problem/opportunity

Problem
Lack of professional staff; preventing youth emigration
Opportunity
Potential of young educated adults

Planning

Pre-requisites for success

Legal: according to the Education Act, high school, as a public institution, has the authority to form new courses and departments within the framework of its activity, with the consent of the competent Ministry

Institutional: common interest of the company, high school and the local community

Internal capacities: one person within the company responsible for the implementation of practical classes

Initial idea
Accelerated expansion of production and a strong need for professionally trained staff
Partner roles

Coordination with the curriculum for the relevant professions.

Verbal agreement between the partners, followed by a written one.

Implementation

Project key stages
  • Mapping the workforce problem
  • Analysing legal options
  • Agree upon the partners’ involvement and mutual expectations
  • Signing an agreement with the school and clearly defining mutual expectation, rights, obligations and duties
  • Securing the space and a practical class teacher
  • Arranging the practical class schedule
Vulnerable groups involvement
It is a multicultural environment and everyone was provided with equal opportunities.

Change

Positive effects on environment
  • Each year, two seedlings are planted for each felled cubic meter of wood. Over 25,000 spruce seedlings have been planted so far. From next year onwards, noble leafers will be planted and the costs will be shared with the Fojnica Forestry Service.
  • A work campaign of common ragweed removal by the MS Wood employees has been held for the last 4 years.
Positive economic and social changes

Public sector (local, national)

Economic: increase in the number of wood technology teachers (3 at the school) and an increase in class hours for teachers of other subjects

Social: 2 new departments founded at the school, increased number of students, creation of better conditions regarding education and employment

Business sector

Economic: subsidies from the cantonal authority for youth employment

Social: increase in the number of people employed from the local community (30 – 35% female, 65% male – age range 18-62, 15% with obtained academic degrees, 10 with primary education and the rest with high school education)

the managerial positions must be 30% held by women

Local population

Economic: education and employment possibilities

Social: increased number of families remaining in the local community

300 people with families employ 600 people + collaborators working with us (two to three thousand people) are benefitting.

For the scientific community

Social: collaboration with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Zenica, Faculty of Forestry in Sarajevo regarding the FSC certificate

Key benefits

For nature

Raising awareness on the importance of preserving a natural resource as a source of life

For the people

Possibility of receiving professional education and permanent employment, which would increase their household budget

Replication and recommendations

Essential things for replication
  • Perseverance in implementation
  • Ensuring the capacities for project implementation
  • Interest of the local community
Sustainability
  • the cantonal Ministry supported the idea, formed 2 departments and contracted 3 new teachers
  • successful implementation
  • constant improvement of the conditions in class
  • incentivizing higher birth rates due to negative trends and emigration (we have a programme for expectant mothers – paid maternity leave for the last 3 months of the pregnancy; we intend to found a kindergarten for our employees’ children)
Needed policy improvements
There is no umbrella forest act; stopping the export of roundwood/logs and semi manufactures from Bosnia and Herzegovina and focus more on finished products so that there are more people with more diverse professions, instead of just sawmill development

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