The support of the private sector through the years has been important for Icelandic VET schools. The variety of education offered in each school has often taken into account private sector needs in the specific location. Dialogue between stakeholders has resulted in agreement that, when needed, local schools could receive help and assistance from companies in the area.
Akureyri, in the north part of Iceland, is a large town in the Icelandic context, with about 18.000 inhabitants. It is the second largest town in Iceland and has two upper secondary schools. One, the Akureyri Comprehensive College (Verkmenntaskólinn á Akureyri) offers academic and a variety of vocational studies. To fulfil its goal of producing fully-qualified students ready to enter the labour market, the school needed state-of-the-art equipment, comparable with technology currently employed in the labour market.
Funding for new tools and equipment for teaching has often proved problematic. However, at the beginning of the 2016/17 school year the school received a significant donation from several companies in the metal industry and the professional association of metal businesses. Twelve new AC/DC TIG welders were donated and are now part of the school‘s educational equipment. In addition, companies in Akureyri collaborated with designing and assembling a new conveyor roller which will make larger welding projects more manageable. This conveyor roller is now also part of the school‘s facilities.
The director of metal industries studies at VMA was impressed by the generosity and goodwill the school has received by companies from the local community. ’We are extremely thankful for the generosity and support which the companies have demonstrated. It didn‘t matter where we sought assistance, everyone was willing to make an effort in any way they could. It is important for us that our facility possesses state-of-the-art equipment so we can provide students with a state-of-the-art education.’
These donations will undoubtedly strengthen the quality of teaching at the school and enable it to deliver fully qualified individuals to the labour market.