Five years ago, the Liceo Luis Correa Rojas in Curepto innovated by creating this unique specialty in Chile after being one of the winners of the Fundación Luksic’s Fortalecimiento de Iniciativas Educativas (FIE). This competitive fund seeks to contribute to the personal and professional fulfillment of the more than 155 thousand students who attend technical-professional education in Chile, supporting projects that are born from the school communities. Applications to the FIE 2021 are currently open until December 29. In addition, for the first time the call for applications is national, and technical-professional establishments from all over Chile can apply.
Juan Pablo Retamal, head of production at Liceo Luis Correa Rojas and in charge of the project, says that the idea of creating the Forestry Mechanics specialty arose after analyzing the needs of the industry and discovering that it was important for young people not only to have knowledge of the forestry and farming area, but also of the machinery they would encounter once they entered the labor market.
To achieve this goal, FIE 2015 provided them with the tools, supplies and equipment necessary to create a workshop in which the students could learn about mechanics, hydraulics, electricity and electronics, and thus be able to implement the new specialty. “Today we are the only establishment in Chile that offers the specialization of Forestry Mechanics, we have positioned ourselves within a market that did not exist and currently Curepto stands out for its young technicians,” says the person in charge of the project.
The initiative had a great impact on the possibilities of the students and their families. “It opened up a new world for them. Curepto is a small, rural town, but today large companies and companies from other cities come to look specifically for young people from this high school, because they are very well positioned,” says Juan Pablo.
The new specialty also brought some students closer to higher education. “This project allowed us to form alliances with technical training centers and professional institutes, such as Inacap or the San Agustín Institute, so that the students could continue their higher studies in mechanics,” he says.
Claudio Lara, coordinator of the Fundación Luksic’s FIE, points out that the objective of the 2021 version of the fund is precisely to promote access to higher education for young people from technical-professional schools, and this year for the first time the competitive fund will have national coverage. “We want to be a contribution so that more young people throughout the country have the opportunity to follow their dreams and improve their life trajectories, both professionally and personally. We know that today only 42% of young people who study in TP schools continue their studies once they graduate, which is why FIE 2021 seeks to support initiatives that strengthen the articulation between secondary education and higher education.”
Schools can apply for two types of projects. Firstly, Initiation projects, presented by a single educational establishment, whose funding amount ranges between $10 and $15 million. On the other hand, Collaborative projects, submitted by two or three schools together. In this case, the amount of funding will be between $15 and $25 million. In both cases, the projects must be executed during a maximum period of one academic year.
To apply, schools must enter the application platform available at the following link, where they can also download the competition rules.