DRUM SIGUR - "SAFE CAREER ROAD": THE NEW PRACTICAL SCHOOL FOR THE UNWANTED. From no hope, no future, no possible choice to the all-inclusive education program.

Bucharest, RomaniaBucharest
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

“Drum Sigur” is offering Romanian teenagers enrolled in vocational schools, (9th-11th grades) a real career chance . The innitiative is convincing multinational companies to cooperate with vocational schools for offering an educational program which includes formal-education (school), skills based education (our NGO) and long term internships (2 years). After two years we have our first teenagers employed, and transformed schools and partners.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Vocational schools in Romania are seen as the worst schools in terms of education level and behavioral environment. The graduates have very low chances of being employed, and they usually emigrate towards Western Europe. Even tough, by design, the schools should offer practical learning and job skills, in reality, the graduates have no future and no real choice for a career related with their studies. Most of the students are teenagers from broken families (divorce/emigration) or encounter financial and social challenges so they become school dropouts in 3-6 months. Meanwhile the companies are complaining of not being able to find qualitative technicians for their jobs and are disappointed by the overall quality of the young generation.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our solution was to connect the hiring companies with the vocational schools into an innovative 3 partners model: vocational schools working with companies (offering technical training and long term internships), while being hosted by our NGO Program Managers that facilitates the partnership and implements a regular non-formal curriculum that is fostering teamwork, discipline and work ethics. Moreover our NGO are preparing the company's mentors in working with the young generation and facilitates possible conflicts while tracking the development of each student. The program have conviced large multinationals like IKEA , HONEYWELL or CARMEUSE to join and after two years we are happy to celebrate the first employment contracts.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Through this project we maximize the technical training by giving students the extra benefits of non-formal education program. Activities that stimulate teamwork, helps students understand the employer - employee relationship and assume the responsibility and, above all, to increase their confidence in their own future. The program gives the participants the chance to prove their desire of working hard in an organized environment. Some of the participants really got the chance, have worked intensively, and now they are given the chance to get hired in a company. In the same time, the companies have learned how to communicate with the young generation and has restored the faith for investing in this group.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Currently “Drum Sigur” project is implemented in: Precision Mechanics High School from Bucharest ; Barbu Styrbei High School from Buftea, Ilfov; Aurel Rainu High School from Fieni, Dambovita For the next two years we plan to implement the project in four other schools from two other cities. We want this project to be a model of good practice for NGOs, vocational schools and companies, model that lead them to build a strong relationship and solid results. The case presented to the society will increase the number of well trained graduates in technical field, decrease unemployment and increase the number of trained employees in the companies. Moreover, we are planning to document the project, and show case the stories so far by publishing a book that will encourage other companies to take the example and start building long term projects with vocational schools.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently, we are the only NGO involved in such activity. The project initiatives had started in 2012 and belongs to the Ministry of Education and it’s called “Alege-ti drumul” but the thing that is missing in this project is the link between the economic operator and the schools so we created the “Drum Sigur” project that fits perfectly into this national initiative where we functioning as a bridge between the economic operator and the schools. We come, also, besides management activities with non-formal education workshops (15 soft-skills workshops per group per year). We are now building informal partnerships witch chamber of commerces for reaching more and more industrial or retail actors, so this year we are also running different pilot projects in relationship with Kaufland Romania.


For every single partner we had, we established a model of two Project Managers for the program (from our NGO and the company) and two Account Managers for the program. "Drum sigur" had each time the buy-in of the top management - through the HR director. Every time we encountered a problem on the program, we had governance meetings that helped informing everyone about the challenges but also finding new solutions. Now some of the partners want to get even more involved in the formal curriculum and want to collaborate more with the teachers for bringing the formal curriculum closer to the corporate needs.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

NGO - not-for-profit

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Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, B, Bucharest

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
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Job Creation: Entries in this category create new jobs for people away from the labor market.

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Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1: IKEA ROMANIA - business
-Short description sentence [The world's largest furniture producer and retailer who entered the Romanian market in 2009]
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [willingeness to invest in the education of the young generation - a general social respinsible attitude, a good understanding of how this program can generate HR cost saving on medium and long term]
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [A wonderful host and organizer for the internship program, finding technical and financial solutions for the teenagers in the program - equipment, uniforms, food support, transporation support, induction, etc...]

-Partner 2 - Honeywell Romania - business
-An international conglomerate of companies producing comercial and consumer products.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project: partnering with the Mechanical Vocation Schools from Bucharest - and willing as a CSR innitiative to offer the chance for internship to the students. They clarified from the begining that they are not committing to any hiring. Still they were the first company that extended a labour contract for the first student.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]

-Ministery of Education
-Type of partners : public
-Short description sentence Ministery of Education in Romania
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [relaunching the vocational studies in Romania is a natinal priority at the Ministery level, so our program was helping them to do just that.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [They offered us the entire legislation, contact persons for diferent vocational schools in different cities, they recommended us the best schools that we can work with ]

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Non-formal education program runs for two years and consists of 30 workshops of 6-8 hours for each school separately. Some titles workshops: Communication Skills, Self-discipline, self-confidence, learning "how to learn", work ethic, personal values​​, teamwork, positive attitude, time management, task management, expectations of employers.
So far we have involved in this project 45 students, three schools and three companies.
We have secured contracts with two more companies and have perspectives for another two companies.
So far we had our first employment cases - one working for Honeywell as a full time mechanic, and we have our first collaboration proposals extended to the participants in the program with IKEA. This summer, during their vacation, the high school students will have the chance to earn their first money.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]


Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

The program was designed from the begining to be self-sustainable because it was design as a set of services provided to the partnering company. The services are including: project management, identification of partnering vocational school, training for mentors from company, high-touch service and one-point-of-contact project mangement that can provide all the information needed about the program: traceability, students involvement, attendence, formal studies progress, etc...
For making it easier for the company, the partner is paying a monthly service subscription which is lower than the cost of the same program if managed by their own employees. Moreover, we increase the sustainability of the project trough a Business Process Outsourcing model: the more partners in the program we have, the cheaper it becomes for each partener. (same PM works on several simultaneous projects and groups

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The most impactful story was the testimonal from the HR Director of IKEA Romania. She told us:"for an entire year I heard only complains from my colleagues about the interns in our shop. They were not disciplined, coming late in the office, attendence issues. One year later, I am hearing how different departments are now counting on most of the newcomers and integrating them in daily processes and tasks. It is a pleasure to get more and more good news. That is why we decided to continue to the program with even more teenagers from vocational schools."
In the begining it was difficult to convince the partners, but they decided to take a leap of faith considering the program initially not as a HR program but rather as a CSR innitiative. Now we have enough testimonials and cases that can convince new partners.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

The main barrier was the low income family situation of the teeangers. The transportation from home until the company was a big expense for them. One of the three partner companies had agreed to cover the cost of transport and we are recalculating this aspect as a budget priority .
Another one was the lack of innitiative among students. They do not see what benefit they may have at the end of this two years project and wanted to be paid starting with the first day. Through the efforts of our soft skills workshops we managed to help the participants to have a vision for the future and to think sustainably.The partner responsibles for the management of the interns were not too excited because of their behavior and their lack of interest . The project manager from Scoala de Valori was always close to these people and engaged both side in a continuous dialog until they solved the tensions.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

The relationship between Scoala de Valori and the companies is a providing services contractual relationship. We contribute to their employer brand and manage the relationship between them and the students.

The relationship between Scoala de Valori and the vocational schools it’s a partnership contractual relationship where they provide the space and time necessary for implementing our non-formal curricula.

We have also a partnership contractual relationship with the Ministry of Education where they facilitate us the relationship with the vocational schools.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

We know for sure that IKEA Romania wants now to continue the program as an internal innitiative. From the state where we were chasing companies to convince them about the benefits of the program, now we are witnessing companies that have changed their perspective about partnering with the local vocational schools. We see these more powerfull outside of Bucharest were the small communities are enhancing a better social dialog. In the same time the schools are learning the power of REAL practical experiences for their students. Now they started to actively look for other corporate partners. Sometimes they request our help in convincing the partners that they identified by themselves. Each partner grew trough the program and is ready to become autonomous in the process of investing in the vocational school.

How did you find out about this competition?

From the HR Business Club that knows our efforts towards their members and connected with this opportunity.