Do you study and work? Dual Vocational Training – a necessary and long-term investment

Top HR trend during the 2nd International HR Conference in Barcelona, October 9th 2015

In Spain you recently can hear and read a lot about the matter: The Dual Vocational Training as a solution or prevention for the youth unemployment in countries like Spain. It is a benchmarking of an educational system which is established in Germany for many years and which many Germans living in Spain have taken part in.

Now Spain will leave its pride behind and wants to learn. (Finally!) The Dual Vocational Training is discovered. And what exactly is that? The system of the Dual Vocational Training consists in practical training in a company as well as theoretical studies in a professional school (“Berufsschule”), or on university level in a higher professional school (“Berufsakademie”). The crisis shows us what the Germans have been predicting for decades: not only the formal diploma counts but also the ability to put the acquired skills into practice.

52% of young people under 25 don’t have a job; a whole generation is heading for a future without perspectives. Let’s compare: in Germany the youth unemployment rate is only 7, 9%. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Spain is looking for the Germans’ formula of success and believes that it is based on the dual system, meaning a professional training that is realized in parallel in a company and a professional school. For months the Spanish media has been storming the FEDA, EDU and the EWA in Madrid and Barcelona, in order to give information about the “training a la Merkel”.

The governments want to take advantage of the euphoria. There has been already held a meeting with all ministers of education where the chancellor discussed with the Spanish companies how to spread the German model of professional training on the Iberian Peninsula. It is expected that especially Spanish companies with subsidiaries in Germany and German groups which are represented in Spain will support this project.

At this point we already face many difficulties in Spain. Most of the companies don’t feel responsible for the training; there are no trainees like in the German educational system and the professional qualification given is very little recognized. The Spanish small and medium-sized companies have already enough problems with their financial and order situation and fight for their mere survival. The Spanish trainee is considered as the leftover of the educational system who at most will become a laborer or a bellboy. The trainees will do only a few professional trainings as they spend 80% of their time in schools and training workshops. At the end of their studies they can enter a company only in a trainee position.

Therefore, Spain needs a cultural change in the heart of families and companies. Spanish people prefer university studies, about two-thirds of the students of every graduation year go to university – and after their graduation, they often only find work as a call center agent or barman if they are lucky enough to find some kind of employment.

SEAT, the leading manufacturing company in the automotive sector, has been the first Spanish pioneer in introducing the German Dual Vocational Training in Spain. Currently there are about 80 companies which offer the Dual Vocational Training in Spain: Lidl, Siemens, VW, Bayer, Lufthansa, etc. Some years ago, organizations like Bertelsmann and Aldi have joined this initiative and offer the Dual Vocational Training for Spanish-speaking students. During three years the young people are trained in the companies and realize an internal program by circulating through different departments and at once get their theoretical education. They receive a monthly salary between 300 and 600 Euros. The mother companies in Germany often drive those initiatives and develop them in Spain, in cooperation with the managing director and the HR responsible of their subsidiary in Spain. In this way, opportunities increase for young people to enter the labor market; in addition, the company trains its internal talents, saves costs in the selection of staff and improves its competitiveness.

The new training model of SEAT is possible thanks to the recent labor reforms which were approved by the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Now Spanish companies have the possibility to integrate the trainees solidly in their operational processes. Until now the Spanish system of professional training has been very theoretical.

The results of the analysis confirm that the typical German model, which consists in the combination of theoretical and practical training, offers more advantages to enter successfully the labor market than the pure school systems in the rest of the European countries. The business owners know: a candidate will be able to put all things once learnt also into practice.

In order to spread the practical experiences the German organizations organize events in Spain, for example the AHK (German Chamber of Commerce for Spain) in Barcelona in cooperation with Advantage Consultores. During one of their events, they presented the successful concept of the Dual Vocational Training which is applied in Lidl España. The HR Director of Lidl España, Amalia Santallusia, mentioned that 86% of their young employees participating in this program get a job once finished their studies.

A young female speaker and ex student of the professional dual school FEDA in Barcelona completed the practical part of her Dual Vocational Training in MediaMarkt where she is today Project Leader at the age of 23. In her speech in front of more than 80 companies and institutions she explained that she was the only person among her classmates and friends, who went to university, who got a permanent job.

Last year, during the 1st International HR Conference in Barcelona, Sylvia Taudien explained on behalf of her own example that Dual Professional Studies are a “must” for developed countries and presented examples of companies such as Homag and Siemens. She presented a young lady who is now working in Siemens as a testimonial.

During the 2nd International HR Conference we are pleased to present the team of VP Human Resources from SEAT, Josef Schelchshorn, a great promotor from this efficient learning and training model. His HR Development Manager, Markus Schmaderer will share with us the successful experience in SEAT with young people. During the breaks there will be Speaker’s Corners to support HR Managers and CEO’s from other companies to benchmark with SEAT.

Don’t miss this opportunity and train the next generation in your company convincing your stakeholders!

There is no doubt: study and work.

Sylvia Taudien

Managing Director of Advantage Consultores

Sylvia Taudien

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