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Związek Zakładów Doskonalenia Zawodowego (ZZDZ)
The Union of Vocational Education Centres
With the network of our public and non-public schools we cover the whole territory of Poland, reaching, with our educational offer, citizens at any age. The educational mobility of the Union, manifested by the offer related to education in different types of schools, as well as to courses in hundreds of professions and specialties, is the effect of the cooperation with many Ministries, offices, that coordinate activities in various fields and branches of the economy, scientific institutes and employers’ associations.”

History
The Union and associated Centres has it’s origin in the tradition of polish craft, which progress in the end of the XIX century demanded the inauguration of training institutions.
The first forms of training were lectures addressed to craftsmen, organized in Warsaw in 1861. They were taking place in “drawing rooms and ateliers”, that after the First World War changed their name into Craft and Industry Institutes. One of participants was a further Nobel Prize winner Maria Skłodowska. Many Institutes continued their activity even during the Second World War.
After the liberation from Nazi occupation, under the name of the Craft Education Institutes, they were one of the first out-of-school education institutions. They served the purpose of training professionals for a reconstructed economy.
In 1946 the Craft Education Institutes associated in the Central Craft Education Institutes of Polish Republic, which is the beginning of the contemporary Union of Vocational Education Centres.
In 1949 previous Institutes changed their name into Craft Education Centres, and in 1962 into Vocational Education Centres. At the same time the headquarter named itself The Union of Vocational Education Centres.
The beginning of the school education in the Centres dates on 1959, when the Centres, as the only  non-governmental association, gained the permission, from the Ministry of National Education, that set the stage for starting their own vocational schools for the young.
The Law on the Education System from 1991 gave the possibility of leading schools by natural and legal persons not being public units.

Characteristics of the Union
The Union is an educational association acting under the Association Act. As a non-governmental organization having a legal personality,
it may bring profits, but they must be allocated only for the realization of statutory objectives.
For its members the union plays the role of coordinating and inspiring body. It represents also their interests to the central authorities, State administration and other institutions.
Our mission is creativity and openness to educational needs of the society and the economy.
We serve the purpose of submitting the educational offer, providing opportunities for Life Long Learning.
What characterizes us is the close cooperation with employers and offices, that lead in various fields of economy and direct the changes
in the vocational training for job candidates and employees, as well as in the activation of the unemployed. The guarantee of our educational actions’ efficiency is ensured by providing a vocational counselling for our clients.
The quality of our activity is confirmed by numerous accreditations, certificates, licenses and monitoring of educational progress’ quality conducted by well-known polish and European institutions.

Educational offer
(school year 2014-2015)
Our educational offer is characterized by emphasizing practical aspects of teaching, satisfying the labour market needs and meeting the expectations of the society, taking into account the latest trends in a technological and economic development.
The educational activity of the Union includes 4 fields:
  • Education in higher education institutions – 2 839 students
  • Education of the young and the adult in various types of schools – 23 363 students
  • Vocational training – 3 203 students
  • Educational courses for the adult – 201 695 participants

Base
(school year 2014-2015)
At present, the Union unites 22 Centres covering the whole territory of Poland with their own network of educational establishments.
We lead:
  • 4 higher education institutions
  • 394 schools
  • 257 vocational training establishments
  • 37 training workshops
  • 397 specialist laboratories

Schools of the Union
Our schools give the possibility of acquiring general and vocational knowledge.
We lead various types of schools, that are very common among both the young and the adult, while their graduates are vastly demanded on the labour market.
We facilitate our students acquiring additional qualifications during courses, that guarantee greater mobility on the labour market.
We provide a vocational counseling.
Our students may take both domestic and foreign practice.

Courses
In the years 1946-2014 the amount of participants at courses was 19 019 034 .
Our greatly various course offer gives the possibility of the vocational training in hundreds of professions and specialties and meets all of the expectations of potential clients.  
The graduates of qualification courses, that entitle to fulfill specified vocational tasks, may take examinations in front of the committee appointed by institutions, which regulate vocational training.
Vocational courses end with the internal examination in front of the committee appointed by the chairman of the Union.
Diplomas and certificates, confirming the high level of knowledge and qualifications of our graduates, are recognized both in Poland and abroad.
To facilitate our clients entering the European labour market we offer various courses monitored by well-known, international company TÜV SÜD. Our graduates obtain certificates in foreign languages signed by its representative, that are vastly useful for working abroad.  

Diplomas, certificates, authorizations
The education in schools leaded by the Centres, ends with obtaining State certificates or diplomas and with examinations in front of the examination committee (OKE).
Courses end with certificates compatible with the formula specified by the Ministry of National Education.
If the course prepares to a vocational examination, student takes it in front of the committee appointed by the office, that is able to confirm the authorization.
If the course prepares only for a profession – in front of the committee appointed by an organizer.
Certificates may be issued in the European languages. What is more, if a course is monitored, a graduate may obtain the TÜV SÜD certification, confirming the quality of training. It is vastly useful for everyone, who decides to work in the European Union countries.

Bank of educational programs
For providing the education in form of courses we have the bank of about 1200 own educational programs. It has dynamic and open structure, because ,in order to meet the needs of the labour market, new programs are prepared, while contemporary programs are being successively actualized.
The thematic range of programs enable to prepare for fulfilling basic vocational tasks as well as for confirming vocational qualifications in front of State committees.
Their authors are highly qualified specialists and experienced teachers.

Quality policy
On the educational market the Centres are mostly identified by the reliability due to the long-term experience. This is the base of our educational services’ quality confirmed by independent certification and accreditation institutions.
The Union owns the functional system, that meets the standards of ISO 9000, educational accreditations of various institutions and numerous local rewards and distinctions for our educational policy.

Teaching staff
In our schools teachers are highly educated professionals with pedagogical background, while vocational courses are leaded by instructors experienced in a proper field. We provide high level of education and students’ welfare due to an internal pedagogical supervision.  
Both the Union and the Centres lead vocational trainings for their teaching staff. This activities ensure the timeliness of vocational and didactic knowledge of our teachers.

Investment expenditures
Our vocational training institutions and schools generally have they own didactic base. It helps in organizing specialist laboratories for the most popular specializations as well as in merging vocational theory with practice. We are very proud to have innovative gastronomic, hairdressing, cosmetic, electro-electronic, health and safety, transportation of hazardous materials and welding laboratories.
The investment expenditures can be divided into:
  • Expenditures on fixed assets – Buildings and constructions, machines and technical devices, equipment, tools and instruments and other investments.
  • Expenditures on innovative activity – Research and developmental works, the purchase of set technology (documentation, rights etc.), the costs of the purchasing and the adaptation of software, the staff training and internal trainings related to new techniques, the development of procedures, adjustment of the offer due to the needs of various markets, advertisements, etc.  

Domestic cooperation
The Union, from its beginning, leads and develops various forms of the cooperation with domestic resorts and central offices, like: the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, the Technical Inspectorate, the Energy Regulatory Office etc.
Raising the level of methodical education serves the close cooperation with scientific institutions like: the Educational Research Institute, the Institute of Labour and Social Studies, the Welding Institute in Gliwice, the Institute for Sustainable Technologies in Radom, the Motor Transport Institute etc.

Special offer of the Vocational Education Centres (ZDZ)
Our offer includes educational and counseling activities also for people with special needs:
  • Disabled – 3 555 people
  • Unemployed – 12 793 people
  • Imprisoned – 1 293 people
Our participation in vocational training for the unemployed, during recent years, was about 600 000 participants.

International cooperation
The international cooperation includes the exchange of experiences, organizing vocational seminaries and creating relationships due to the implementation of projects funded by EU. They are related mainly to the cooperation in realization of specified purposes and provide exchanges and traineeships for beneficiaries of this projects in countries that are involved in the implementation.
Several Vocational Education Centres (ZDZ), leading training and production workshops, maintain commercial contacts with many contractors and foreign recipients from EU and other countries.

Implementation of domestic and European projects
The Centres are distinguished by the fact of great activity in applying for financial funds from the EU. Only in the recent 2 years, due to various projects, we trained about 40 000 participants.
Moreover, the Centres actively participated in many international programs and projects related to  education, like Socrates, Cedefop, Leonardo da Vinci etc.