The Apprenticeship Challenge

Promote the apprenticeship of the future to empower young people worldwide.

5 March - 13 May 2017
14 May 2017 - 4 March 2018
Sinal do Vale (Brazil)
20 Fellows
By the DO School Deutschland gGmbH
Applications are closed

The Apprenticeship Challenge is an edition of our Entrepreneurship for Good Program. With its learning-by-doing approach, this program gives you the opportunity to learn innovation and implementation skills by working on a real-life innovation Challenge (here: The Apprenticeship Challenge) during 10 weeks in campus, in this case in Sinal do Vale (50 kilometers from the center of Rio de Janeiro). During the second phase of the program, you’ll go back home to launch your venture with support from your DO School mentors and peers. 

So how does the Entrepreneurship for Good Program work?

Incubation Phase

The first Phase of the Program lasts 10 weeks and takes place in Sinal do Vale, a unique biodiversity space in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil outside Rio de Janeiro. You and 19 Fellows from all over the globe will attend the following courses:
Challenge Lab: You’ll be co-creating a hands-on result for the Apprenticeship Challenge while learning and applying the DO School Method.
Venture Lab: Using the DO School Method, you’ll refine your venture idea and get it ready for implementation.
Media Lab: You’ll learn storytelling skills to generate support and publicity for your idea.

For more details, please download our Courses Description PDF below.

Implementation Phase

Over the course of the next 10 months, you’ll be implementing your venture in your home country – using the skills you learnt in the Incubation Phase. Thanks to the DO School’s online platform, you’ll be able to get advice and feedback from your mentors, the DO School program team and your peers. In addition, you can pick up and share new skills along the way.

The Challenge

Westerwelle Foundation, Sinal do Vale and the DO School challenge you to develop innovative ways to promote apprenticeships or vocational training to reduce global youth unemployment and create a sustainable future. The solution that you will co-create with the other 19 Fellows during the Challenge Lab should help enable local businesses to train young people on the job, focusing on the importance of continuous skill-based training. The project should be scalable and adaptable to any country. 

Why does it matter?

Global youth unemployment and the education-to-employment gap are two facets of one of the most pressing problems of our time. In light of the high unemployment rates among university graduates, it is clear that secondary and tertiary education models alone cannot provide the answer. Add to this the fact that the half-life of many professional skills is 2.5 – 5 years and it becomes clear that we need a new skill-based model for continuous on-the-job learning, for example apprenticeships, which in countries like Germany have proven themselves to be effective drivers of employability. Take for example the innovation in new skills and job profiles created in the field of the green economy. We believe that an individual economic perspective is highly relevant for a solid democratic development on the long term. 

This Apprenticeship Challenge is right for you if:

1) You have an idea for a social impact venture and are ready to commit 10 demanding, high-energy weeks in Brazil to work on the Challenge and develop your venture further, and also want to dedicate the following 10 months at home to bringing your idea to life.

2) You have proven skills and expertise in the following areas and would love to contribute these so as to create an actionable and amazing Challenge result: Education and training, HR, project management, international development, sustainability, etc. Or you might have other skills or expertise that you believe will bring a unique and fresh perspective to the solution of the Challenge.

3) Your knowledge of English is good enough to participate in a program entirely conducted in English.

We offer inclusive educational opportunities for talented young adults regardless of their socioeconomic or educational background. If you feel that you have the right skills and motivation, and a venture which might be either in planning phase, an emerging start-up or a growing organization, we encourage you to apply no matter whether you are a university student, a graduate or have no higher education at all.

Application process

Applications will be reviewed by the DO School Admissions Team after the end of each selection period. Please complete your application through our online application plaftorm by the next selection deadline. Also please note that once all places are filled, the application process will close and there will not be any other selection period. Before you begin your application, you may want to read the application FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Step 1

Create a user account. You will receive an email with a link. Click on that link to activate your account. If you do not receive this email within a few minutes, please check your spam folder.

Step 2

Complete all three required parts of the DO School’s online application form. You will be asked to fill in personal information, answer application questions, and agree to the conditions of application. To save your work and return to it at another time, click the “save” button. If you require financial assistance, please fill in the financial aid form. Also please note that if you are not legally of age in your home country at the time of application, you will have to supply a permission signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Step 3

Submit your application. Once the status of all three parts is complete, you can click the “Submit Your Application” button. Please note that you cannot make any changes to your application after your submission. No late submissions will be accepted. Successful submission will be confirmed by a screen saying: “Your application has been submitted”.

After you apply

We will be in touch with you via email shortly after the selection deadline. If your application passes the first selection round, you will be invited for a Skype interview for the second round. All applicants will be notified, whether successful or not.

Tuition fee

Admission is based on merit alone with a contribution of EUR 1,000 to the tuition fee. You may be eligible for financial aid if you are unable to make this contribution. For more information please download the financial aid PDF. 

Accommodation and most meals will be provided in Sinal Do Vale for the 10-week Incubation Phase. However, you are responsible for organizing and paying for your own travel to and from the Campus. You are also responsible for arranging and paying for your visa (if needed) as well as health and accident insurance.

The Challengers

The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding was established by Dr Guido Westerwelle, former German Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ralph Dommermuth, CEO and Founder of United Internet AG. Based on its firm belief in the correlation of economic success and democratic participation, the Foundation wants to enable young adults to realize their potential and to gain economic independence. Therefore, the Foundation engages in the promotion of entrepreneurship and vocational training.

For more information, please visit: westerwelle-foundation.com.

Sinal do Vale is a vibrant living laboratory for the transition to a resilient future and a 400-acre campus in nature where emerging leaders can learn, teach and evolve their inner and outer skills as change-makers. Nestled in the richly biodiverse and highly threatened Atlantic Rainforest, just 50 km outside of Rio de Janeiro, SINAL is home to an organic farm, a reforestation and community resilience project, and an event, education and retreat center. SINAL serves as a host and catalyst for people, ideas and place-based projects determined to make a difference in complex, changing times. 

For more information, please visit: sinaldovale.org.


Who can apply to participate in this Challenge?

The DO School is seeking highly motivated and talented emerging social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a track record of being passionate about addressing social issues and creating and spreading innovative social change. We welcome applications from people with all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Successful applicants are determined and willing to use our program to start new, or grow existing ventures, or implement a new initiative within a larger organization. The DO School program is ideal for outstanding mission-driven people who are looking for the tools, skills, and mentoring to launch a social start-up.

What are DO School Fellow ventures?

An idea to start or grow a social venture, be it a non-profit, social business, artistic initiative, campaign or intrapreneurial initiative within an existing organization is a crucial part of the application. Ventures always address a key social issue in the Fellows’ communities, while at the same time reflecting their personal passions, motivation, and talents. We don’t require applicants to already have finished business plans for their ventures, but rather require them to want to implement an innovative idea for a venture. As Fellows are passionate about the topic of the Challenge they apply for, their venture idea will reflect this and is somehow connected to the content of the Challenge.

What is the time commitment during the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

During the 10-week Incubation Phase all Fellows live and work together. This phase is an intensive learning and training experience with full-day program for usually 5 – 6 days a week. For the 10-month Implementation Phase, Fellows return to their home countries to start implementing their own ventures with continued online support from the Venture Lab, via the DO School Online Platform. Fellows can work part-time on their venture implementation, but are required to commit an absolute minimum of 15 hours per week to work on their venture.

What are the courses offered during the Incubation Phase?

Over the ten weeks of the Incubation Phase, Fellows will work on a Challenge posed by our Challenger. This process is supported by our Challenge Lab, a course which offers skills, knowledge and tools necessary to successfully solve the Challenge. The Venture Lab is the second major focus of the Incubation Phase, in which Fellows will work on turning their own venture idea into a viable social start-up plan that is ready for implementation. Fellows will benefit from individual coaching sessions and workshops on entrepreneurship, communications, project management, and start-up financing to develop their idea into a concrete project plan. The third course, Media Lab, is to enable Fellows to communicate about their ventures in a professional manner. Media Lab sessions help them to develop a strong brand and communication strategy. 

For more details, please download this PDF: Courses Description.

How can one apply for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

Applications for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program are always for a specific Challenge and can only be completed during the stated application period of that Challenge. Applications are completed through an online application form.

What does it cost to participate in the Entrepreneurship for Good Program?

The Entrepreneurship for Good Program is a highly subsidized program, which means you pay only a small portion of the actual costs as your tuition fee. For the Entrepreneurship for Good Program in Brazil the tuition fee is 1,000 EUR excluding travel expenses, This only applies if you can afford to pay the full tuition and your own costs, if not there is an additional questionnaire in the application, which you can fill out in order to benefit from financial aid.

Is there financial aid available for those who cannot cover the cost?

Yes, financial aid is available for the tuition fee of the Entrepreneurship for Good Program. Fellow selection is need-blind. This means we select Fellows regardless of their financial circumstances and make sure that everyone who is selected can also participate in the program. If you need financial aid to cover the tuition fee, there is a separate form in the application process that you can fill out. If you are accepted you will then automatically receive an individualized partial or full financial aid offer. We will also be able to supply a limited number of travel stipends to applicants who can demonstrate that they need additional support. Our financial aid will be based on your personal needs, however, we expect all candidates to demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and actively contribute to part of their own costs through their own fundraising activities.

Why is the tuition fee for the Entrepreneurship for Good Program so low?

The DO School’s mission is to make excellent education highly affordable. Through its unique fellowship model every Fellow accepted onto the Entrepreneurship for Good Program receives an automatic scholarship covering the vast majority of the program cost. This is made possible through the support of the Challenger(s) who gives the hands-on innovation Challenge, in this case the Westerwelle Foundation and Sinal do Vale.

After I submit my application how long will it take to hear if I have been selected or not?

We will be in touch with you via email shortly after the next selection deadline.

Can I apply for two Challenges at the same time?

No. We select Fellows based on the specific interest expressed in the application to participate in a particular Challenge. It is important that you seriously consider selecting a Challenge that you are passionate about, as your start-up venture should also reflect the topic of the Challenge.

I have already applied for a previous program and was not accepted, can I still apply for a new program?

Yes, each application will be evaluated on its own merit. Having previously applied will not negatively influence the outcome of a new application. Quite the opposite, it may be a good idea to tell us how you and your venture have developed since your last application.

My English is not very good, can I apply in a different language?

No, since all programs rely on English as the common language, you have to apply in English. However, it is important to remember that the requirement is to speak and understand English well enough to be able to benefit from and contribute to the program, but you don’t need to be a native speaker – so don’t be too worried about making a few mistakes.

Who can I contact if I have questions regarding admissions?

Please contact us at admissions@thedoschool.org