Frequently asked questions - FAQs

FAQs

A. Who can apply?

  • Vocational and Training Institutes (VTI) – any type of educational and training entity with private or public ownership that is licensed or accredited in one of Western Balkan 6 economies, with a history of at least 2 years;

  • Enterprise – any type of business entity with private or public ownership that is registered in one of Western Balkan 6 economies, with a history of at least 2 years;

The project preparation and implementation can be supported financially or in-kind by external partners. Their support is considered as project co-financing. External partners could be for example local municipalities, development agencies, professional associations.

In principle any entity offering a formally-recognized training programme (with publicly recognized certificate), for example, VET school – secondary vocational school, VET school – upper secondary vocational school, Mixed schools offering vocational and gymnasium programme, University, Academy for professional/vocational studies, Adult or Life-long learning/education/training institute, Vocational training center, Vocational school for disadvantaged students with disabilities/special needs, Non-governmental organization, Association.

In principle any entity with the business/trade registration, for example, an entrepreneur/Sole Proprietorship/Sole Trader, A limited liability company, A (general) partnership company/ Unlimited Joint Liability Company, A limited partnership company, A joint-stock company, Cooperative, Representative office, Branch office, Socially Owned Enterprise, Publicly-owned enterprise.

All those VET consortia that comply with all defined eligibility criteria (can be downloaded here).

Trainees can be participants of informal or formal training, i.e. on regular secondary/upper secondary level of education, at the university or in the training centre for pre-qualification or re-qualification. 

B. Application and selection process

The application process is a two-stage process and involves the submission of the Expression of Interest (EoI) and Application with the Project proposal. In case of a successful evaluation of the EoI by the independent experts, the applicant will be shortlisted and invited into the completion of the full Application incl. the Project Proposal.

RCF requires at least one VTI. The grant management portal allows registering two VTIs, while the one registered as the first one will be considered as the leading applicant. There is an option to combine into VET consortium two VTIs if they have a common focus.

The criteria define at least two, but the portal enables to register up to 10 of them.

The application is submitted on the RCF grant management portal: https://rcf-wb6.flexigrant.com

More details can be found on RCF website under section 2.2.2 Application and selection process.

In principle, it is possible to apply for the support of two or more VET programmes. The online grant management system allows the applicants to enter the details about more than one educational programme (add comment field could be used for describing the information about the additional programmes that the applicant is unable to described within pre-set fields).

It is recommended to combine similar programmes that utilize the same machinery, equipment or infrastructure works, to keep the coherence of the project proposals

VTIs and enterprises shall generally only participate in one proposal per call. VTIs may generally submit several proposals throughout the RCF implementation period if these proposals refer to different occupations.

C. Eligible financing and matching contribution

The subject of financing can be an existing or new training programme. In the case of the new one, it needs to be certified/accredited before the Funding agreement is going to be signed, but the latest 6 months after the application approval.

The VET Consortia can apply for funds to purchase equipment or machinery, do construction or renovations, improve curricula and training materials, or train teachers or in-company trainers to strengthen the practical aspects of training courses. You can find further details here (Use of funds and eligibility criteria).

In case the VTI/enterprises are constrained with their space, they might rent space for their practical learning outside of their education/business premises. Ultimately, the VTI is the final beneficiary and owner of the grant funding, while participating enterprises have an opportunity to benefit from the training of their staff dealing with the cooperative training and prepared trainees.

It can be VTI, participating enterprises or jointly. Property utilized by the VTI and enterprises for existing training programmes to be used in suggested EoI can be still considered as matching contribution via proportionally calculated time/costs utilization.

Matching contributions can be monetary by covering a certain amount of the planned investment through the VET consortium members.  Matching contributions can also be made in-kind through expenditures, direct or indirect costs, incurred by the consortium members for the implementation of the project. Co-financing of the project proposal by external partner(s) is not going to be considered as matching contribution. Typical examples of direct costs could be salaries of staff directly engaged in the RCF project (proportion of the time used for project implementation, trainee costs (such as daily or meal allowances), Insurance costs for trainees, Travel expenses for trainees or trainers. Indirect costs may cover costs for premises or office space, cost of the use of machinery, cost of material and services (e.g. printing), recruitment expenses, utility charges etc.

In-kind matching contribution example could be the proportion of leased machinery and equipment, prorated costs for teacher’s and in-company trainers salaries, utilities, insurance and transport expenses.

You can view detailed guidelines with the instructions for the categorization of matching contributions here.

RCF can finance only investments planned by the approved applicant, as the procurement must take place based on guidelines dependent and valid on subject and the amount of investment.

RCF will finance most of the procured items directly.

First of all, any activities recognized by the KfW group with their Exclusion and Sectorial Guidance List. Costs not directly related to the training programme requested with the grant application. Activities, that are already carried out by the VTI. Normal operating costs of VTI or partnering enterprises, especially if they are not clearly attached to the training programme.

D. Benefits for VTIs and enterprises

  • Improved relevance and quality of the VET programme
  • Modern equipment and/or technology for work-based learning
  • Improved internal infrastructure relevant for cooperative vocational training
  • Skilled VET teachers, trained in line with business needs
  • Better image of the VET and the institution itself within the community
  • Possible higher enrolment rate of interested students and increased chances of their future employment
  • Increased availability of workers with skills that meet the enterprises’ demands
  • Trainees experienced in operating the equipment and technology used in the enterprises
  • Decreased costs of training processes
  • Decreased costs of recruitment
  • Potential to plan growth strategy based on realistic predictions on workforce availability
  • Improved preconditions for compliance with internal occupational health and safety procedures
  • Participation demonstrates corporate social responsibility and positions enterprises as “good citizens”