Spanish Vocational Training (FP) is in fashion. And not only within our borders, where in the last five years enrollment has increased by almost 30% thanks to a clear commitment to this education by successive governments, according to Juan Francisco Jiménez, CEO of CEAC FP. It is also fashionable abroad, as more and more European companies are looking for professional profiles that have studied a cycle in Spain to hire them in their respective countries. Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Belgium are some of those with the greatest need for technical professionals. Those who fight for them.
Companies such as Continental Automotive Technologies, POD Int. Personalberatung GmbH, Hofmann, DHL, Cargill, Icl-Ip Terneuzen or Yara Sluiskil are some of those that demand recent VET graduates, due to the high quality of the national educational system, continues Jiménez, in where the specialization provided by higher degrees does not exist in other nations and where, furthermore, the recent development of vocational training has led to some of the most advanced European qualifications of the moment.
“We want to attract Spanish talent from abroad,” confirms Ignacio de Benito, from the Bertelsmann Foundation, “there is a need for technical talent in much of Europe.” Something that is very good for national students, since they can access significantly higher salaries than within our borders. Pol Sánchez Oliva is a 22-year-old young man who recently graduated as an early childhood education technician in Barcelona. He has been hired for a year in Göttingen (Germany), where the working conditions in general and the salary in particular are much better than in Spain, he explains. “There I would be receiving the minimum wage, while here they pay me more than double,” he says on the phone from the German city.
European companies offer between 3,000 and 3,800 euros per month, sometimes with language courses or the first trip to the destination country included and even accommodation, according to the data managed by CEAC. That is why it is not surprising that many students have their sights set on the outside. “At the same time as the European demand for Spanish students grows, which in the German case increases by 20% and in the Belgian case by around 17%, the interest of students in going abroad also increases,” Jiménez appreciates. Andreina Carrión, 21 years old and taking her second course in Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, sees her future clearly in Germany, where there are more job opportunities in the specialty she wants to pursue (applications technician) and where the salary can be triple the Spanish, as he comments. The same is repeated by Verónica González, 22 years old, student in the first year of Pathological Anatomy.
“The problem that exists in many countries, including Spain, is that there is a lack of labor in certain productive sectors, especially in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands or France. And that is forcing a European competition for technical professionals,” explains Jordi Castillo, head of European projects and international affairs at the Fundació BCN Formació Professional.
The three sectors where the deficit is most evident is in mechanical manufacturing, especially in the case of senior design technicians, but also other traditional vocational training profiles such as welders; in electricity and electronics, where experts in mounting wiring to senior technicians in electrotechnical and automated systems are needed, and in the computer and communications sector, in which applications developers to system administrators are needed, according to Castillo. This expert adds maintenance specialists and installers, as well as nursing assistants and early childhood educators as the next most sought after by European companies. Although there is also a shortage of professionals in sectors such as hospitality in Germany, says Claudia Dittrich, director of development and marketing of FEDA (German Dual Business Training), which companies try to cover by requesting graduates from Spain.
While the European Education Area arrives, with which vocational training degrees will be homologated in all EU countries and educational and labor mobility will be promoted, which generates more employment opportunities, at least German companies give this facility to students. technicians to get them signed. In addition to homologating their degrees, they provide them with free language courses, something that corporations in Denmark are also beginning to do, according to Castillo.
“As vocational training establishes itself as a model of success in Spain, not only from the point of view of enrollment but also of job placement (about 83% of vocational training students find work before the age of 4, surpassing university students, who do not do it before they are 5 years old, according to the Ministry of Education), initiatives such as international mobility come hand in hand, which is more unknown,” says Ignacio de Benito, who refers to the Erasmus+ program, to which each More and more educational centers and students are being welcomed for their internships abroad. An example is the Institut Pere Martell in Tarragona, whose students specializing in mechatronics have been requested by a Dutch company holding company to do their internships. The educational center provides them with an Erasmus scholarship and the company where they will do the internship offers them accommodation and training for two months.
There are also specific programs from certain companies and institutions, such as BASF, which since 2013 has been developing a Dual FP plan through which 168 Spanish students have gone through, who have traveled to the chemistry headquarters in Germany.
Or the Fundació BCN Formació Professional, which finances a six-month German course until obtaining level B1 and provides a one-year contract in Germany to recent graduates as well as the homologation of the qualification, as is the case of Pol Sánchez Oliva , a young man who comes to work in the country “for the experience. Because then I am going to return to Spain with more training, knowing German and with a better cachet than if I had stayed,” he assures. 85% of the 900 young people that the institution has sent to the country have returned two or three years later.
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