Education vs. job offers
Training and job offers seem to be unbalanced. Although we have a high level of unemployed people — in Catalonia there is currently a 13% unemployment rate —, employers complain about not finding qualified staff to cover their job offers.
The young, the most affected
According to data from IDESCAT, in Catalonia, in the first quarter of this year, registered unemployment was 12.9%, of which 33.4% were young people aged 16 to 25. This is a fact that clashes head-on with the permanent demand for workers by employers. The Chambers of Commerce of Catalonia regret that 24% of the job supply cannot be covered due to a lack of qualified staff.
Jaume Fàbrega, president of the Girona Chamber of Commerce and president of the General Council of Chambers of Catalonia, tells us that for some years now the business sector has been lacking qualified staff: “The productive sector has a significant demand for trained staff and the education system does not offer it to us. As a society, we are faced with a very important challenge: we must give people the training that will then help them make a living.
For Fàbrega, in our country there is an image that defines the situation of the youth active population: “It is like a sundial: in the wide part below there is a lot of young people without any kind of training; in the middle, the narrow part, the young people with qualified technical training; and at the wide top, the young people with university education. We find a clear lack of qualified technicians, and they are the ones who offer us professional training and whom the job market demands at the moment”.
Dual Vocational Training
In Catalonia, since 2014, there is a type of vocational training that combines theoretical training in schools and practical training in companies: Dual Vocational Training. This type of training is beginning to take root in our country, but it is still in its infancy, as it does not reach even 10% of the educational offer. For the President of the Council of Chambers of Catalonia, it is not only a problem for the education system, but also for companies: “We are working so that companies see the importance of Dual Vocational Training. We believe that not only should we have institutes where young people go to study, but we need a network of companies with an educational vocation. The company is the other great agent in the training of people, and it is necessary to increase the human capital of the society, because without the people the companies would not exist.”
Dual vocational training accounts for 60% of training in countries such as Germany: “In these countries, and in others in Northern Europe,” explains Fàbrega, “youth unemployment is very low. In Germany, it does not exceed 6% and this is, in part, thanks to the style of vocational training they have. The productive sector vindicates this style of training, but it is difficult to align the job supply to the demand». Fàbrega considers that our country needs to move towards a better understanding between the training sector and the productive sector: “That is why, for example, this year we have organized a fair in Girona on dual training aimed at companies. The employer must also see the opportunities offered by Dual Vocational Training, and the possibilities offered by training a person in the same workplace.”
Jaume Fàbrega vindicates the training work of companies, from the smallest to the largest. He invites them to take an interest in Dual Vocational Training programs, as he considers that it is one of the ways that will help balance the job demand and supply. He also acknowledges that our country is far from becoming a fully advanced economy, “because talent still leaves us. We train them, and they go to other countries where they are better paid. It is a problem of entering completely in the economy of knowledge.”
In Catalonia there is a lack of qualified technicians, especially in ICT, information and communication technologies, according to a study presented this May that has been made between the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and Infojobs. ICT training is one of the most demanded by companies, followed by logistics, hospitality, and tourism. Other reports also say that VT graduates have more opportunities to find work than college graduates.
What is clear is that training is key to finding a job, and that joint work between the training sector and the productive sector is essential to balance the job supply and demand.
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