X FORUM – EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING: FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF COMPANIES

FemCAT defends closer collaboration between the production and education systems to create professionals with better future options.

  • It is important that companies have tools to anticipate their personnel requirements and inform the education system of them.
  • Dual education or sandwich training should be the main option for vocational training.
  • Lifelong learning is crucial to all professional profiles.
  • Professional guidance must be improved and started as soon as possible.

Barcelona, November 6, 2018.  FemCAT, a private business foundation that promotes initiatives geared towards boosting the economic and social development of Catalonia, proposes to intensify collaboration between the administration, companies and educators to tackle early school leaving (ESL) and turn out qualified professionals who have better work placement and trajectory options.

Under the framework of the X Forum, which every two years addresses a different problem from a comprehensive perspective, employers have shown their interest in getting involved in education and guidance tasks, anticipating the profiles and skills required by their companies and bringing the world of business to schools through occasional collaborations, visits and dual education and sandwich training.  They have also asked the administration to facilitate this dialogue and simplify the process for companies to get involved in dual education.

There is concern in the business community regarding early school leaving, as it is directly linked to the professional profiles available to companies and the jobs that are offered. A lack of education is also related to youth unemployment, which was the main topic of the latest edition of the FemCAT Forum.

“While it is clear there are multiple factors that lead to ESL and the educational system is addressing it, companies can also do their part. As employers, we must be able to anticipate our needs, communicate them to the education system and become more involved in lifelong learning,” stresses Pau Relat, President of FemCAT.

Therefore, small and medium-sized companies that can foresee the type of jobs they will be able to offer in the future must make their voices heard so that the education and continuing education systems can make use of such information. In this sense, the involvement of employers is key, both within their territory and at the sectoral level, and they must be able to count on the support of organizations such as employers’ associations and chambers of commerce.

This involvement should also include the Departments of Education and Employment, Social Affairs and Families: “In vocational training, sandwich training should be the norm, not the exception. As employers, we can commit to getting involved, but as of now, dual vocational training presents many bureaucratic barriers that do not facilitate the participation of companies,” says Pau Relat.

An education system that has little or no communication with the production system is bad for both companies and young people. The typical early-school-leaver profile is that of someone who does not finish the first year of vocational training, high school or even a university degree. “Why leave when, supposedly, you have already made an important decision about your future? Might not it be that students have not had the opportunity to imagine the type of professional life they can access through higher education?” With this argument, the president of FemCAT advocates for intensifying efforts to offer professional guidance to children and young people.

The issue of early school leaving is not limited to young people. “Failure to receive an education while young in a system designed for it represents a lifelong burden. How many of those who are unemployed and aged 45 and older were early school leavers? How many of our employees were? Continuous training is necessary for everyone, at every level. We need to make it a priority.”

Employers from all over Catalonia, as well as experts and representatives from the education, political economic and social system, will attend FemCAT X Forum on Wednesday at the Auditori Banc in Sabadell, Barcelona.

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