“A pending issue is being tackled: coordination between the Labour and Education Administrations, because they cannot live on their backs or in parallel, but must go hand in hand to give a response to young people, to the productive world and to the educational sphere. In this way, Maru Menéndez González-Palenzuela, deputy director general of Active Employment Policies of the State Public Employment Service (Sepe), summarised the work being done by the Spanish public administrations to promote Vocational Training (VET) and curb youth unemployment in our country.
The representative of Sepe closed, last September 24th, the “Final Dissemination Day of Co.Tutor: Improvement of the participation of construction SMEs in the training of apprentices”, accompanied by Enrique Corral Álvarez, director general of the Fundación Laboral de la Construcción. An event organised by the National Construction Confederation (CNC), with the collaboration of the Fundación Laboral, in which the companies Grupo Elsamex, Monteabaria and Arpada also participated.
Maru Menéndez was pleased to learn about the project and the results achieved by Co.Tutor -a European initiative of the Erasmus+ programme– “for what it contributes to Dual Vocational Training”, and referring to the Foundation, said: “It is a pioneering entity of which we are very proud”.
Adaptation of the apprenticeship contract to the casuistry of construction
Juan Lazcano, president of the CNC and of the Labour Foundation, who inaugurated this final event, highlighted that: “bearing in mind that the business fabric is made up of a large majority of micro and SME’s, we are already working on how to adapt the learning contract of the Dual VT to the casuistry of the construction industry”.
Leonor Villaluenga Peña, director of the Vocational Training Centre of the Fundación Laboral Aragon, spoke of “Lessons learnt in the training of apprentices in construction companies” when he explained his own experience of the implementation of Dual Vocational Training and of what he had learnt in the work experience of students in the different SMEs. In this journey, Villaluenga said that they have gone from looking for companies to collaborate to receive every week so many calls that have no margin of response. A situation that for the director of the vocational training centre is “unprecedented in construction”.
However, Villaluenga made a reflection to reach an important question: “If Dual Vocational Training has advantages for the three agents involved – companies, students and training centers – why does it not work? Among the answers, the expert pointed out that today it is necessary to deal with certain aspects in a profound way: “It is necessary to know the student and their families better; to reflect on the real incentives, to turn the centres into gateways to companies, and the SME into a good reception reference; to involve the public administrations, etc.”.
In addition, other questions arose such as the importance of creating “a professional pool” among all the agents, as well as the enrichment that Erasmus+ mobilities represent for students, centres and companies. In this sense, a video was projected with the impressions of the students of the Vocational Training Centre of Aragon.
Creating a ‘made-to-measure’ quarry
Mª Ángeles Asenjo Dorado, director of the International Department of the CNC, moderated a round table in which companies were given a voice. Participants included Antonio Muñoz Parra, head of the Training Department of Grupo Elsamex; Óscar Redondo Ribera, architect from Monteabaria; and Celia Esteban Herranz, from Arpada’s Organisation and Optimisation of processes.
Muñoz recounted the experience in Dual VT that Grupo Elsamex is experiencing, since it is being implemented in the areas of Infrastructures and Equipment, together with the German Chamber of Commerce for Spain and the centre of the Salesians of Atocha. According to his words, his objective is not only “to get a professional made to measure”, but also “to retain him”.
For Redondo, “in construction, the fundamental thing is not the work that is done, but how it is done. This architect stressed that, in addition, “in the sector, theoretical training is fundamental, but trades are learned through practice, and that cannot be eliminated.
Esteban added that “Dual VT apprentices bring fresh air to companies, another spirit and another desire to work”; and that it is increasingly difficult to find workers prepared by the “flight of construction trade professionals”. In this sense, he made an appeal in the Day of Final Diffusion of Co.Tutor, of specialized professionals, in particular: bricklayers, soladores, alicatadores, ferrallistas and encofradores.
Javier González, head of the International Projects department of the Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, and Mª Ángeles Asenjo, presented the results of Co.Tutor and the impulse that this project aims to give to the figure of the tutor-company in construction SMEs for the training of apprentices. Asenjo also recalled that, “in the FPDual, intermediate associations are fundamental and the territorial construction associations represented by the CNC are essential, also to transfer values”.
Co.Tutor, a bi-national European project carried out by four institutions of reference in the construction industry in Spain and Italy, lasted 24 months and, since October 2016, has been led by the Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, in close collaboration with the National Confederation of Construction (CNC), the Associazione Nazionale de Costruttori Edili (Ance) and Ente per la Formazione e l’addestramento professionale nell’edilizia (Formedil).