In the MENA region there can be the so-called 'culture of shame', with many citizens not wanting a vocational career. Is this something to be addressed within a vocational training programme?
Kristine Schinkmann: Although there is an urgent economic and social need for vocational training in many parts of the world, it can be difficult to make it widely accepted in some societies. An academic education followed by a position in public service is considered to be the ideal career in many countries. In some Arab states, the private sector is dependent on foreign labour, up to 90 per cent in certain cases. Many governments want to change this in order to avoid further inflation of employment in the public sector, which is impossible to fund in the medium and long term.
But to make potential trainees aware of the appeal of vocational training with its employment and income opportunities, then these opportunities must exist. So domestic businesses can become a driving force of education reform in their respective country, they can influence and shape not only their own economic success, but also that of their nation. Starting from as early as nursery school, teachers and especially parents should communicate to children that there are alternative education pathways to an academic career that are also profitable and rewarding.
Silvia Niediek: Vocational training can improve its appeal through integration in academic courses at university level. Highly-specialised academic courses of study with significant practical components are a modern learning concept, developed in Germany. These dual study programmes are considered to be an ideal approach to winning over young people to a vocational qualification and offer an excellent opportunity for the private sector, looking for qualified young talent, by providing internships and in-company training programmes.
The German education system integrates measures such as career coaches and mentoring programmes. Other ways this objective might be achieved include entrepreneur training programmes for young skilled workers and privately based micro-financial aid.