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Entrepreneurship

The Alliance for Dual Vocational Education is born

The Alliance for Dual Vocational Education was set up with the objective of creating a national network of institutions and companies committed to developing high-quality Dual Vocational Education in Spain, as well as bringing together the best initiatives and experiences that are being carried out in this area.

18/05/2015

The Alliance is a national network of institutions and companies committed to developing high-quality Dual Vocational Education in Spain, promoted by the Bertelsmann Foundation, together with the Princess of Girona Foundation, the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations (CEOE) and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

The promoting bodies and the Alliance’s executive board today presented this pioneering initiative for boosting youth employment to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in an audience at the Palace of Zarzuela.

Improving young people’s employability by fostering synergies between businesses and education: with this aim in mind the Alliance for Dual Vocational Education is born. This pioneering initiative by the Bertelsmann Foundation in collaboration with the Princess of Girona Foundation, the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations (CEOE) and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, seeks to promote a high-quality model of Dual Vocational Education tailored to the Spanish context. The promoting bodies in the Alliance, together with the members of the executive board —formed of the companies Acciona, Agbar, Bosch, Frit Ravich, La Caixa, Nestlé, Repsol, Seat and Sol Meliá—, today had the opportunity to present the initiative to Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in an audience at the Palace of Zarzuela.

Spain’s rate of youth unemployment currently stands at 51.4% (Working Population Survey March 2015), which is more than double that of the European average of around 22%. This worrying situation is the result of a polarized education system in which hardly any students choose to follow intermediate level studies provided by vocational education. In Spanish society most young people chose either a basic education or to go on to higher education, ignoring the option of intermediate education as a way forward. The result is an imbalance between the needs of the labour market and the educational choices available, leading to higher unemployment levels among young graduates (15%) than among those who opted for vocational education (7.5%). Raising the profile of vocational education is one of the challenges the Alliance needs to address.

Backing the dual system of vocational education

The four promoting bodies believe that vocational education, structured in a dual system similar to that used in Germany and which adapts to the demands of the workplace, is the best way to reduce the high rate of unemployment among the 15 to 25 year-old age group. Dual Vocational Education is a system designed to allow students to learn while alternating between educational centres and businesses. This model gives students a clear understanding of the reality of the workplace and makes it easier for young people to enter the labour market.

In fact, the data gathered and experiences carried out in several countries in the north of Europe demonstrate that choosing Dual Vocational Education provides young people with first-hand experience of working in a company and increases their possibilities of finding employment. While youth unemployment in Spain is at 51.4%, in Germany, the European country with the lowest youth unemployment in the Union, it is only 7.2%. The rate of unemployment among young people recorded in Spain is way above the average figures throughout the European Union (21.9%) and the Euro zone (23.7%). 

For the promoters, getting companies involved in the Alliance is vital for ensuring that the model of Dual Vocational Education introduced responds perfectly to the situation and needs of the Spanish context. To make this possible, the Alliance will offer small and medium-sized businesses support to help them join the system with guaranteed levels of quality.

Guide to the process of implementing Dual Vocational Education projects

The companies and institutions participating in the Alliance for Dual Vocational Education will receive technical advice from the promoters to help them implement Dual Vocational Education projects. This support will be particularly important for those companies that are embarking on the study, design and implementation of this training system in their workplaces.

In addition to providing advice, the Alliance also plans to create working groups to generate knowledge in strategic areas in the development of Dual Vocational Education. The results yielded by these committees will be fundamental for creating and improving the Dual Vocational Education system in Spain.

Finally, different meetings will also be organized with the members of the network in order to exchange experiences and improve practices both in the institutions and the companies within the Alliance. Once a year the companies and institutions that form part of the Alliance will also be invited to a national meeting.

The institutions involved are committed to tackling the complex problem of youth unemployment in Spain through joint, coordinated and systematic work carried out by all the stakeholders in the project.

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