Experiential Learning Through Training Firm - Formative Valances and Personal Development Opportunities
Experiential learning, the learning process for which John Dewey argued, it is now seen as a pressing need in the efforts to boost growth and employment in Europe, noting that Europe needs more entrepreneurs. Integrating entrepreneurship has demonstrated its success for the American culture and successfully has been transferred in the Chinese culture. At the European level, integrating entrepreneurship is seen as one of the possibilities that could respond to issues of absorption and labour market integration. Thereby the education in Europe is required to implement learning models based on practical experiences. The content analysis conducted on the curricula of initial vocational education and training (VET) in Romania revealed the fact that entrepreneurial spirit within initial VET is provided through the entrepreneurship education curriculum, integrated in the curricula frame for secondary education, for the 10th grade, to all pathways, profiles and specializations, with a budget of one hour per week. For the qualifications for the services profile, the modules applicable for the training firm is part of the national curriculum, leaving open the way for expanding the applicability of this component for the other profiles within the local-based curriculum development. Investigative approach analyses the ability to form entrepreneurial skills in the mentioned context, feeling the need to introduce training firm for initial VET regardless of the economic sector for which the student qualifies, in a context with a higher degree of concreteness such as the training firm is.
Keywords: Experiential learningentrepreneurshiptraining firmvocational education and training
Introduction - Why Considering Training Firm an Experiential Learning Method
In order to give the answear to this question is neccesary to underline the fact that for both
concepts the student experience and his active involvement is in the center of the learing process. If
experential learning is a wider learnig method with its roots in the pedagogical conception of John Dewey,
Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget and David Kolb, apllyable for different forms of education, informal, nonformal
or formal, the
experiences into the central learning proccess but in a formal educational enviroment with the purpose of
gaininng antreprenorial skill and competences. And this is because not all the time it is clearelly
understood by students how to act, how to befave, how to implement, how to develop, untill they actually
play a role in the
Problem Statement – the Training Firm Concept
Looking for definition of
identified some common specifications.
practice. It is
teacher coordinator. A
operations in a selected branch. It is a didactic concept, an imitation of a real professional situation
focusing on educational goals (Bara and other, 2012, p.16-30).
The concept of
synonyms in the world wide cultures, such as
method for developing the entrepreneurship, a modern teaching and learning strategy of involving
students from initial VET and not only, for gaining key competence like: entrepreneurial competences,
teamwork skills, capacity management, working autonomy, decision making and accountability,
independent collection and processing of information, creative thinking, practical application of
theoretical knowledge, solving problem situations, perseverance, workplace organization (Annex no. 2 of
the Ministry Order OMEdC no. 3172/30.01.2006).
The actors of the
competence and specialized competences and in the process of his own career development;
who supports the activity of the
sometime sponsorships it and
This is the understanding of the concept in Romanian educational system since 2001 when
Purpose of the Study
Our study is focusing on gather facts about a
The mixed methods approach incorporated methods of collecting and analyzing data from the
official web sites dedicated to
developed within a European Social Founds project -
second site is http://firmaexercitiu.tvet.ro/, dedicated to ROCT platform.
The second data analyses focused on curriculum documents which are concerning activities of the
Marking Department, Supplying Department, Sales Department and Financial Accountancy Department.
6.1. The Romanian Background of Implementing Training Firm
The ECONET project, mentioned above, supposed involving 10 schools in the process of piloting:
Economic College „F.S.Nitti” Timişoara, Economic College „Th.Costescu” Drobeta Turnu Severin,
Economic College „Ion Ghica” Brăila, Economic College Arad, Economic College „Nicolae Titulescu”
Baia Mare, Economic College „Iulian Pop” Cluj-Napoca, Economic College „Virgil Madgearu” Iaşi,
Economic College „Transilvania” Tg. Mureş, Economic College „George Bariţiu” Sibiu, Economic
College „Maria Teiuleanu” Piteşti. After a three years period of testing within the project (2001-2004),
the result of the project conducted to extending the method to all initial training schools delivering
training for SERVICES profile, introducing it into the specific national curriculum starting with 2006-
2007 (Ministry Order 3172/2006). For the support of the activities of the
the platform ROCT Central in 2001-2002 and ROCT Department within National Centre for Technical
and Vocational Department since 2008-2009 (Ministry Order 5109/25.08.2008).
The role of ROCT is coordinating the network of the training firms at national level and to
simulate the activities of the national bodies with the purpose of maintaining the quality standards (ROCT
acts as the Trade Register, as the Territorial Labor Inspectorate, as the Pension Fund, as the Health
Insurance Fund and other Social Insurances, as the Bank, as the Agency of Employment,
as the Public Finances Administration, also organises and monitories the competitions dedicated to
training firm etc.). In the meantime the platform proved to be over loaded by the high number of the
training companies, fact that concludes to two aspects, first the success of the method training firm,
second the necessity of implementing a new platform for ROCT Central.
Starting with 2008-2009, ROCT is a joined member of the European Practice Enterprises Network
– EUROPEN, the organization which represents 7500
includes countries which are already members of the network, but also prospective members’ countries.
Being a member of such network motived Romanian side to raise the standards and be very active. The
ROCT platform keeps the record of 5476
Looking at the progress record of
the numbers of training increased constantly (http://www.roct.ro/situatie-statistica/, 11th of September
In order to raise the quality standards and create a competitive environment for the
it has been organized by ROCT the international Business Plan Competitions and the International Trade
Fairs which are ruled only by ROCT and also other locally and regionally trade fairs with the approval of
ROCT. In the table below published on ROCT site, it can be observed how the number of participating
the number of
opinion, it represents the opportunity of financing specific activities through European Structural Funds,
but still we could observe that there are other oscillations in other periods also, and the reason could be
the interest of other initial VET schools for experiencing
proving the success of the method. ,
6.1.How Training Firm Does Support Developing Entrepreneurship
familiarize them with a real company. It gives the opportunity to simulate the economic processes, to get
used to specific operations and the real business environment, to improve business language, to develop
entrepreneurial skills and proper attitudes necessary for a dynamic business personality like: creativity,
critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, responsibility, teamwork, initiative, perseverance,
self-organization and self-evaluation of individual resources, flexibility.
The results were expected to be observed after crossing the training-firm experience were
increasing the employability of graduates in the labor market, reducing the period of adjustment at work,
better adaptability to change jobs, flexibility, taking initiative and risk. Unfortunately we couldn’t identify
in the educational Romanian system an operable mechanism of monitoring the insertion of the graduates
of initial VET on the labor market, thus we could not identify if we have a better absorption for the
Services profile than from the other profiles.
6.2. The Content Analyses of the Curriculum Dedicated to Training Firms
The methodology of the content analyses used in our research focused on all qualification training
standards provided initial VET for Services profile. The modules covering the curriculum dedicated to
Organization of human resources, Business marketing included in the curriculum of the 11th grade and
The competitive environment, Business financing, Business negotiation part of the curriculum of 12th
grade) have a very practical part of it which are developing under the name of technological laboratory.
Participating at competitions and other trade fairs is an extra curriculum activity, but one which motivate
students a lot, since all the costs of participating at the trade fairs and other competitions are covered by
sponsorships obtained by students themselves.
exercitiu/concept/, 11th of September 2016):
curriculum for schools with other profiles than Services or for 9th and 10th grades, Services profile, as a
preliminary stage of establishing training). At this level the
environment, it is not registered at the Central Training firms Network/Simulate enterprises in Romania
(ROCT), the practiced situations are initiated by teacher, and the teaching-learning process is action
oriented, student acts specific roles in all departments of the office and assumes duties performed either
individually or in teams.
progressive route, Services profile). This second level supposes existence of an economic and
entrepreneurial center (
registered at the Central
establishes a business relationships with firms on the national market
necessary activities within an enterprise to solve current operations, it supposes organizing presentations
involving successively several generations of students). The
collaborators / employees.
In the national Strategy for Developing VET one of the strategic objectives is dedicated to
developing innovation, and national/international cooperation for vocational training, through two
strategic goals, increasing the total number of students involved in programs for innovation and
entrepreneurship till 2020 to 50,000 students (from 40,000 in 2014) and increasing the total number of
students involved in international mobility programs from 4600 to 2020 (from 2,800 in 2014). Focusing
on the first strategic objective which is our topic of research, it is considered that the background was
already established by implementing national strategic projects which included the training of 600
teachers for implementing teaching learning process and vocational training which will lead to
developing entrepreneurial competences for students (for example: training students to establish a
SWOT analysis (Government Decision 317/2016, p.78) revealed the following weaknesses
regarding developing entrepreneurial competences such as: insufficient extension of the learning methods
which develop entrepreneurial competences of the trainees and insufficient identification of the students
having interest and entrepreneurial affinity, insufficient financial support for organizing competitions of
developing and simulation of business plans and insufficient financial support for organizing and
participation at regional, national and international Trades of
Our research could identify some more opportunities of improving the
Romania from analyzing the methodology of
the public on the website: it is not easily to understand the mechanism of the quality assurance of a
network which involved in 2014, 1376
EUROPEAN – PEN international, it is not visible a benchmarking with the international trends regarding
quality assurance, and not only reporting the number of
but to the number of the students fulfilling the modules dedicated to gaining entrepreneurial competences
playing active roles in the
insertion of the students on the labor market or of those students starting a business after graduating.
Even if the
and more students from different other VET schools and even those that have chosen theoretical pathway,
are interested to establish a
- Mariana Bara and other, (2012), Ghidul firmei de exercițiu – Cea mai bună practică. București: Centrul
- Național de Dezvoltare a Învățământului Profesional și Tehnic.
- *Ministry Order 5109/25.08.2008 regarding The Establishment of Department for the Coordination of
- Pre-university Education Training Firms. http://lege5.ro/Gratuit/geytqobqge/ordinul-nr-5109-2008-privind-infiintarea-centralei-retelei-firmelor-de-exercitiu-intreprinderilor-simulate-dinromania. 11th of September 2016
- ** Ministry Order 3172/30.01.2006 regarding The Approval of the Curricula for the Area of
- Technologies. http://oldsite.edu.ro/index.php/articles/3983. 11th of September 2016
- *** Government Decision 317/2016 regarding the approval of Strategy for Developing VET 2016-2020. http://www.roct.ro/firme-de-exercitiu/concept/, 11th of September 2016. http://www.roct.ro/situatie-statistica/, 11th of September 2016.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
About this article
Cite this paper as:
Click here to view the available options for cite this article.