i-Messe - the Vorarlberg vocational training fair
The i-Messe is the largest event in Vorarlberg in the field of career guidance and takes place every two years for three days in the fall. A wide range of opportunities is presented that dual education offers: Apprenticeship professions, types of schools, further education opportunities and educational paths. There is a chance to get a taste of the practical side of things, to try out many things, and information is provided on topics relevant to training, as well as a colorful supporting program.
The i-Fair presented itself for the first time in 2017. It has evolved from the BIFO-Messe (career information fair), which has taken place seventeen times since 1989. The BIFO Fair was launched by the Vorarlberg Economic Society, the Chamber of Commerce and the State of Vorarlberg. At that time, it also served to arouse young people's interest in apprenticeships, to make it easier for them to choose a career, and to show the diversity.
One thing distinguishes today's i-Fair and the BIFO Fair at that time from other formats: The professions and industries are the focus. Exhibitors are not the individual companies, but the professions, organized through the professional groups of the Chamber of Commerce.
- Create a world of experience "Experience professions"
- Awaken the desire for dual training
- Provide an overview of the variety of training opportunities and educational paths
- Experience apprenticeship occupations and industries in a practical way
- Talk to apprentices and those responsible for training
- Inform about school types after compulsory schooling
- Get to know institutions for career counseling and orientation
- The aim of the "Parents' Day" is to address parents and win them over as visitors, to offer them information and orientation, with additional activities such as lectures and workshops - because parents are the most important advisors for young people in their career orientation phase.
All students from the 7th to 9th grade (12 years and older) and their teachers, parents and families are the target groups of the education fair. It is a free offer for the visitors.
Vorarlberg's largest training fair is a project of the Dis.Kurs Zukunft. Dis.KursZukunft is a strategy process of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce, which serves as a basis for further future-oriented work. More than 100 personalities from the business community evaluate, supplement and further develop topics and projects, and new things are thought up and conceived.
The fair is organized and implemented by the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce "Education and Apprenticeship" (project management and coordination, 1 person) in close cooperation with the BIFO (institution for career and education) and with the support of the province of Vorarlberg and the employment office AMS. Various working groups are formed for this purpose. BIFO is responsible for the coordination with the schools, their teachers, students and the preparation for the visit of the fair in the context of the vocational orientation lessons.
The i-Fair takes place over three days in November from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is held on an area of 12,500 square meters in the Dornbirn exhibition center (2019: 11,500 visitors).
The biggest cost items are in the areas of hall rental, operating costs, advertising and marketing, supporting program, external personnel (security, cleaning), graphics and printing.
In addition to the exciting insights into the world of over 80 professions, the supporting program attempts to captivate visitors and invite them to linger: interactive trade show, application show with theater actors, potential analysis, training ambassadors, i-Corner (information + advice, registration office for talents).
Funny, exciting and extraordinary moments are captured with a photo or video under #minezukunft or on the social wall and made visible for all. Gastronomy trainees and students from the GASCHT (School for Tourism Professions) will organize a foodie paradise, cooking workshop, cocktail bar and coffee house and treat visitors to delicious snacks, cakes and creative drinks.
The i-Fair is unique in its format and successfully established in Vorarlberg. It makes it possible to show young people all the paths for their professional future and opportunities in Vorarlberg, based on their talents, interest and desire to take the next step in their professional life, whether apprenticeship or school, to present all the possibilities in a tangible and understandable way and through personal contact with other apprentices, trainers, students and teachers to come into direct contact.
It is a challenge to coordinate such a large number of occupations and schools, to make the benefits of the fair understandable, and to get everyone on board. The cost of exhibiting occupations at the fair is a financial challenge for many smaller occupational groups, as well as for schools.
It is important to continuously work on the quality of the exhibition content, to optimize the appearances of all contributors and to make the offers even more tangible. It is also important to get all the players on board in good time, to organize exchanges among them, and to make it possible to keep costs under control. It is also essential to reach out to parents - but it is not that easy.