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Successfully realized study visit to Graz, Austria

Members of the working team within the second study visit, planned by the DUALMON project, stayed in Austria, in the period from 25th to 29th April 2022. The working team from Montenegro consisted of representatives of four faculties of the University of Montenegro, which are involved in the project (Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality). Besides the representatives from the University, the working team in Austria involved the representatives of the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education and the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, as well as representatives of companies that are partners in the project – Voli Trade, Crnogorski Telekom, Crnogorska plovidba and Uhura Solutions.

The aim of the study visit to Austria was to share the experiences of that country regarding the implementation of dual higher education practices. Therefore, the host of the study visits was FH Joanneum from Graz, which is a partner of the project. This study visit is particularly significant considering the fact that the dual education model in Austria is recognized as one of the best in Europe. Members of the working group were welcomed by representatives of the partner institution (FH Joanneum). On that occasion, a Local Steering Committee Meeting was held (the member of the study visit was also the representative of the University of Novi Sad – Serbia, as a project coordinator). During this meeting, the members of the working group discussed the steps taken so far regarding the future implementation of the project. Special emphasis was placed on the analysis of prepared specific models of dual education and the plan for dissemination of achieved outcomes. Also, during this meeting, the participants have defined the steps that should be taken in the forthcoming period.

Members of the working team also had the opportunity to visit the Heineken group: Brauunion Puntigamer and Zotter Schokolade factory, as companies within which dual students successfully complete work placements. In this way, the members of the working group had the opportunity to get acquainted with the business processes within the companies in which dual students are involved, but also to hear the experiences of employers about this educational program. Additionally, during the study visit, a workshop was held for members of the working team and dual education students from Austria. The workshop was attended by dual students from different fields of education who are doing an internship in different companies. During the discussion, the members of the working group had the opportunity to see all the advantages and disadvantages of this model of education from the perspective of students. Also, members of the working team visited the campus Bad Gleichenberg which is specialized in educating dual students in the area of tourism.

The overall conclusion is that this study resulted in collecting very important and useful guidelines for the preparation of concrete proposals, which should be further discussed, elaborated and adjusted to the specificities of the Montenegrin Higher Education System, during the next stages of project development.