“Successful professionals could have an enormous contribution to their students which is why they should be encouraged to become teachers by having a straightforward and easy access to the teaching profession.” This is what Chief Officer of Public Partnerships at Teach For Bulgaria Neli Koleva stated at the “Vocational Education and Training (VET) as a First Choice” conference. The conference took place on April 24-25 in Sofia and was organized by the Ministry of Education and Science as part of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Neli Koleva had the opportunity to share Teach For Bulgaria’s experience and lessons learned from NEWTT.  “A New Way For New Talents in Teaching is an international Erasmus + project which unites a consortium of 15 partners from 6 countries. Teach For Bulgaria is partners with the Ministry of Education and Science and Plovdiv University on a national level.

“Teach For Bulgaria has been working with vocational schools (known as professional high schools in Bulgaria) since the start of our organization in 2010. We have faced many challenges in the recruitment of experienced and motivated specialists who start teaching in these schools, while at the same time we have found and implemented successful practices in partnership with teachers and principles,” Neli Koleva stated. “The results of the international project NEWTT illustrate this and we are glad that we had the chance to share our experience at this important forum,” Neli added.
“A New Way for New Talents in Teaching” strives to address a few major EU-wide challenges such as teacher shortages, teacher training which is lagging behind the needs of the students in the 21st century, and the insufficient practical training of beginner teachers. The project tests innovative practices in the recruitment, training, certification, and retention of new teachers in the system of education. The first results of the project indicate that teachers who are trained in innovative programs have a great performance even during the initial months of their work at school.
The conference was opened by the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Denitsa Sacheva. She stated that vocational training could help people of all ages find jobs and added that this type of training is valuable both for economic and social reasons. According to Deputy Minister Sacheva, vocational schools are inclusive and can prevent some students from dropping out.

The goal of the conference was to provide an opportunity for an international exchange of best practices in vocational training and ways make it more appealing and interesting to students.