On May the 24th 2018 it has been held the last meeting for Education Commission from Pacte Industrial de la Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona (Pacte Industrial RMB).   Its main goal was to present a new study on Vocational and Educational Training and the Dual System carried out by Fundació Barcelona Formació Professional (Fundació BCN FP).

Both entities have no legal responsibilities on VET provision. However, they act as think tank on that topic regularly programing papers, events and lobby on VET and, particularly, the Dual System in front of public administrations and society.

Building a sound VET system

Montserrat Blanes, the Fundació BCN FP director, centered the challenges VET System is still facing in Catalonia and Spain:

  • Pedagogical innovation. Everything suggests that vocational training has been left out of the last pedagogical renewal movements in Catalonia, and that therefore the acquisition of knowledge and attitudes still follow the methods of the past.
  • Professional guidance system still lacks consistency, which causes many young people rejects training following. There is still the stigma of social disapproval that accompanies vocational training
  • The relationship between the educational centre and the private enterprise, a fundamental issue to understand the difficulties within which Dual VET System is placed. A greater understanding between the educational centre and the company trainers is difficult to achieve

The VET Dual System in Europe and Catalonia.

Àngel Tarriño, the Fundació BCN FP researcher who has developed a benchmarking study, shows the following remarks:

  • The professional qualification in Spain is strong in the upper level (above the European average) and in the elementary level (also higher than the European average), while the intermediate level – corresponding to the various technical levels – is clearly lower than the European average. The solution to this situation goes through vocational training, but the situation seems to be timed because of higher levels of school dropout, lower social prestige of VET studies, lower public investment towards vocational training and higher rates of overqualification
  • At the same time, as the young student population does not show a clear preference for industrial studies, many companies, especially in the field of industry, have serious problems to cover qualified technical profile: it is estimated that in 2025 64% of the jobs will be for professional technicians but only 24% of young people follows VET at the moment
  • Germany and Switzerland started more than 40 years ago the Dual VET System and it is implemented despite the fact that there is a lot of SMEs (one of the difficulties that are alleged to be unfolding in Catalonia) and business associations and guilds play a fundamental role in the planning, financing and evaluation of the Dual VET System
  • Holland has a centralized model but it is also a case of success. Five ministries plan the vocational training system and a radical reform has been implemented. VET was offered in about 900 teaching centers and are now grouped into 40 centers, which work as a campus in which the private sector is integrated
  • For the Danish case, professional training is organized by local groups of social agents, where companies and educational centres meet. It also emphasizes the existence of a mixed baccalaureate that allows both to go to the University and to vocational training, so students can delay the decision for a few years
  • The cases of France and Spain are similar, centralized models: the state creates the basic legislative framework and the social agents have an advisory role, in which the level of the Local Administration has no effect
  • Related to the implementation of Dual VET System in Spain, only 21% of VET centers offer dual itineraries and only 3.3% of young people who course VET is in the Dual System

 Epilogue: let’s imagination fly!

Finally, Ma Rosa Fiol, of Associació Empresarial de l’Hospitalet i el Baix Llobregat, launched an inspiring and disruptive proposal. The educational system should be top down restructured so that it ensures minimum compulsory and common education for everybody. Therefore, high school baccalaureate, VET, tertiary education and post graduate education should be dissolved. In return, it would be a matter of organizing and offering a wide range of formations – we imagine that of relatively short duration, homogeneously distributed across the nation and with different levels of deepening – linked to a field of knowledge or a productive activity to which a student could freely access and to create its own itinerary, as far as he or she wishes.

Would not this be a valid option for many people and companies? Facing problems that have been crawling for over 40 years, such as VET structures rationalization or the fact that companies experience serious difficulties in finding the suitable professional profiles, would not this be an alternative?

Thank you for making us know and think!

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