Do you study and work?

«Do you study and work? The dual vocational training in Spain – a much needed long term investment»

Sylvia Taudien

Article by Sylvia Taudien
Director of Advantage Consultores

In Spain lately, a lot is being heard and read about the subject: the Dual Vocational Training as a solution or prevention of youth unemployment in countries like Spain. It is the benchmarking of a training system established for many years in Germany, and that many Germans living in Spain have benefited from.

Now Spain has set its pride aside and wants to learn. Finally!, the dual vocational training is being discovered.. What’s this? The dual system of vocational training is parallel training in the companies and professional school (Berufsschule), or at the university level in the superior school of dual training (Berufsakademie).

The crisis shows us what the Germans have been preaching during decades to politicians: : it is not only the formal diploma that counts, but also the ability to implement it.

52% of young people under 25 have no job, an entire generation is doomed to a future without perspectives. Compare: youth unemployment in Germany reaches no more than 7.9 percent. So we should not be surprised that Spain will seek the recipe for success from the Germans and believe it resides in the dual system, i.e. the training is performed in parallel in the company and professional school. For months, the Spanish media are assaulting the ASET and EWA in Madrid and Barcelona, reporting on “Merkel’s education.”

Governments want to take advantage of this euphoria, so there was already a meeting of education ministers in Stuttgart, Federal Chancellor questioned Spanish companies about how they could spread the German model of vocational training in the Iberian Peninsula. It is expected that especially the Spanish companies with branches in Germany, and German groups represented in Spain will support this project.

And at this point we are faced with many difficulties in Spain. Most companies do not feel responsible for the training, from the point of view of the German education system, trainees do not exist, and professional qualifications are afforded with little recognition. Spanish SMEs already have enough problems with funding and orders situation, and many struggle for mere survival. The Spanish learner is considered as the remnant of the education system who at best becomes a labourer or concierge. He’s doing a few internships as 80 percent of his time is spent in school and learning workshops, and at the end of the course he can get into a company as a trainee.

For this reason, Spain needs a cultural change within families and companies. The Spanish prefer to study at the university, about two-thirds of each promotion of students entering college – and after graduation, often only find work as a call center agent or bartender, if they have the good fortune to find a job.

SEAT, the automotive company has been the pioneer and first Spanish company to implement the German dual vocational training in Spain. Currently, about 50 companies are offering dual training in Spain: Lidl, Siemens, Volkswagen, Lufthansa etc. And this fall, entities such as Bertelsmann and Aldi have joined this initiative by offering dual vocational training to Spanish-speaking students.

For about three years, young people are learning in companies and perform an internal program, through the various departments and in turn receive their theoretical training. They receive a monthly salary between 300 and 600 euros. In many cases, the headquarters settled in Germany, drive these initiatives and develop them in Spain, in collaboration with the CEO and the HR manager of its branch in Spain. Thus, the opportunities for young people of entering the labor market are increased, the company trains its internal talent, saves on recruitment costs and improves its competitiveness.

The new SEAT professional training model is made possible by recent labor reforms decreed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Now, Spanish companies are able to integrate learners solidly in the operation of the company. Until now, the Spanish system of vocational training was too theoretical.

The results of the analysis typically credited to the German model is the combination of theoretical learning and practice, it offers many more advantages to integrate into the labor market, than those purely school systems very widespread in the rest of the European countries.

Entrepreneurs know: what a candidate has learned, he’ll also know how to implement it.

To disseminate practical experiences, German institutions organize events in Spain, such as the AHK in Barcelona in collaboration with companies: Advantage Consultants, Michael Page and Humanus Consulting, which introduced the concept of success on dual training practiced in Lidl Spain. The HR director of Lidl Spain, Amalia Santallusia says that 86% of young people who follow these programs get a job after graduation.

A young speaker and alumnus of the vocational school ASET Barcelona, developed the practice of dual vocational training in MediaMarkt, where today, she is the project manager at age 23. At her speech in front of more than 80 companies and institutions she recognized that she was the only person among all her schoolmates and friends who visited the university, who had a permanent job.

No question, study and work.

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