The Night of Trades (Szakmák éjszakája): New paths of occupational orientation

    The Night of Trades (Szakmák éjszakája): New paths of occupational orientation

    In Hungary as of 1 July 2015, the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning has been responsible, as a medium-level managing body, for operating public vocational schools.  The National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning develops and operates the career guidance system in cooperation with the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    In September 2015, a working group of career guidance was established within the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning. It is responsible for assessing and coordinating, at a national level, the career guidance activity of vocational training centres and formulating recommendations in terms of methodology.

    The results of such activity provided the basis for the preparation of the Night of Trades in 2016.

    The primary objective of this new initiative called the Night of Trades is repositioning vocational training and education and trades in the eyes of the people, and reaching, through new ways of communication, those people to whom this field has been completely unknown. The Night of Trades 2016 and 2017 have been the career guidance events with the highest number of visitors and programmes in Hungary ever

    Its motto (“Try it, do it, get to know it!”) refers to the fact that, at this event, trades are presented in an interactive way, enabling participants to try their hand at them.

    At all the venues in Hungary, the event took place at the same time: on 15 April 2016 and on 21 April 2017, from 18.00 to 22.00. The key figures of the event in 2017 are as follows:

    • number of participating vocational training centres: 44 (all the vocational training centres in Hungary), but in 2017 Hungarian schools and enterprises operating outside Hungary and not maintained by the Ministry for National Economy were also given the opportunity to join the initiative as independent actors;
    • number of participating institutions: 423 (391 presented their activities at their own venues and 32 in another participating institution or at the central venue);
    • 8 Hungarian schools operating in neighbouring countries (Slovakia, Romania and Serbia) participated in the programmes, and there were 3 venues outside Hungary;
    • 4 647 different programmes were organized;
    • 46 435 people participated at the The Night of Trades. Since 8 706 teachers were involved in running the programmes and the students of the participating institutions (13 571 people) also took part in the event, the total number of participants was close to 70 thousand.

    Municipalities that participated in the Night of Trades 2017

    The Night of Trades is a new and innovative initiative within Hungary’s vocational education and training sector, which differs from previous solutions (career guidance exhibitions and fairs, open days at schools) both in its methods and in its goals; it is primarily aimed at repositioning vocational training and education in the eyes of the people and offering an opportunity for schools to make themselves known. One of its key instruments is the possibility of trying the different trades, in the spirit of Confucius; and this way visitors may not only get direct experience of them but they can also try their hand at their typical activities.

    Following the event, the career guidance experts of the National Office of Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning, Dávid Rozványi and Anikó Angyalné Kovács, analysed the past and eventual future factors influencing the success of the Night of Trades and similar future events. Key findings:

    1. vocational training centres expect at least 5 visitors per participating teacher;

    2. the number of visitors depends greatly on the number of participating teachers and of the students of the given institution;

    3. vocational training centres expect at least 11 visitors per programme type;

    4. the number of visitors depends greatly on the variety of programmes;

    5. the Night of Trades enjoyed the greatest success in medium-sized municipalities

    (20 000 to 60 000 inhabitants) with 3 to 5 participating institutions, therefore, it is advisable to use marketing communication methods targeting municipalities that are either bigger or smaller than these; the media coverage following the event is proportional to the number of visitors and participating teachers.

    In the future, initiatives promoting vocational training and education through innovative, interactive and recreational programmes, like the Night of Trades organized every year, are expected to play an ever more important role in occupational orientation and the support of career choices in Hungary.

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