Creating perspectives – in a very practical way

How a vocational school is training young people in two tiers

Construction site of a building without windows and partially scaffolded. The old windows lie in a heap in front of the building.
In the middle of renovation - soon the vocational school will be renovated and ready for use.

Daria is 16 years old and comes from Chernivtsi. When she finished school, she decided to start a tailoring apprenticeship because she has plans for when the war is over: Daria wants to become a designer. “I like working with my hands to make things that people admire.” She is now in her first year of an apprenticeship at vocational school no. 8 in Chernivtsi. She lives on campus along with eight other girls in her class. Learning is a lot of fun for Daria; she appreciates the quality of the training. And she loves the campus and the parties the students have here.

More than 600 students/apprentices are currently studying at the vocational school in Chernivtsi and more than 300 of them live on campus. The two-tier school prepares the students for a future career in one of two industries: textiles or gastronomy. The school management expects that soon there will be 700 students.

First, however, the renovation and construction work has to be completed. This is being carried out as part of the EU4Skills programme, which the Ukrainian Social Investment Fund (USIF) is implementing in various cities and regions across Ukraine. The programme is financed by KfW on behalf of the EU.

A young woman is sitting at a sewing machine, in the background there are other workstations, a dressmaker's dummy and a blackboard and screen on the wall.
Daria is delighted with the new sewing machine. It's modern and makes hardly any noise.

Renovated buildings, new machinery

In addition to the renovation of a school building, investments are also being made in training equipment – for example, in purchasing modern sewing machines that now replace the old models from 1947. Daria and her fellow students are very happy with the new sewing machines, which are very quiet and have all kinds of additional functions.

As part of their three-year dual apprenticeship, the trainees also help to complete major orders for companies and social institutions, and, for example make bed linen for kindergartens and clothing for service staff in restaurants. This is particularly helpful for those companies whose male workforce was largely drafted for military service.

Even though the students don't talk much about the war in class, it is nevertheless a constant presence in their everyday lives. Every morning they hold a minute’s silence; at the entrance of the building there is an altar for the fallen former students of the vocational school.