The Government trusts (almost) everything to the FP. The Council of Ministers has approved the draft Organic Law on the Organization and Integration of Vocational Training, in which the Executive has hopes to reduce youth unemployment and correct, in general, the distribution of workers in the labor market to medium term to get closer to the European models, where there is much more presence of middle and senior technicians.
The suspended life of thousands of young people due to the lack of vocational training places: “He told me ‘Mom, how can I not study?'”
“We owe a whole generation of young people an opportunity for quality employment like the one that Vocational Training can provide them,” the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, explained this Tuesday at a press conference after the Council. The minister has a task to fulfill. A good part of a whole generation of young people, the current one, is being left out of vocational training due to the lack of availability of places in Madrid and Catalonia: it is estimated that today some 40,000 applicants have been left without their preferred study option only between these two communities, although the Generalitat is trying to solve their problem.
Isabel Torrijos’ son is one of them. The young man, 16 years old and living in Terrassa (Barcelona), wanted to study computer science “forever”, according to his mother. But it has been left out in the first instance. Torrijos explains that the Department of Education intends that the students who have been left out study “in any other training”, but for her this is the formula for failure: “With this the dropout rate is going to be enormous, it has nothing to do with it. study what you like with what they tell you to study, “he predicts.
Isabel Galvín, head of Education at CCOO in Madrid, agrees on this point and explains that something similar is happening in Madrid. A couple of tens of thousands of students have been left without a place in their favorite cycle, according to union calculations – a fact that is common in the community – and many of them, Galvín explains, are going to go to Baccalaureate as plan b , “but we know that in the medium term this has a regular course”.
In both cases, affected actors denounce, a large supervening lawsuit that could not be foreseen has been alleged. “The truth is that this past academic year (2020-2021) the FP already experienced the highest rise of all teachings, 9.3% more than the previous year,” CCOO replies regarding Madrid. “Perhaps that could have given them a clue about the upward trend of Vocational Training, and thus adapt the supply to a growing demand.
Target, 200,000 new places
The proposal of the Ministry of Education, which is now going to the parliamentary process for its final approval, focuses on different developments with a view to making the stage more flexible, making it more attractive for all strata, professionals or students, such as giving greater prominence to the companies, by creating a company tutor to evaluate a part of the student’s knowledge; the integration of all forms of VET; and the possibility of taking courses of shorter duration than the current ones. All these measures, which can be summarized in a few keys, are intended to “propose an attractive and competitive training offer” to students.
Minister Alegría recalled after the Council of Ministers that Education has promised to increase the supply of public places by 200,000 positions. So far, according to data from the minister, 40,000 have been financed, this course that starts another 60,000 will be added and the rest are committed for 2023. The objective of the Government, Alegría has admitted, is that in the medium term there are more young people than choose the FP than the University.
“Unemployment affects young people with a VT six times less than young people in general,” Alegría insisted to reinforce the importance of this government policy. “Boosting VET is the best way to invest in the economy and reduce youth unemployment. It is a country project, which we Europeanize“, has valued.
The problem that the Government has is that the educational competences, also of FP, are held by the autonomous communities. And although in the majority there are no young people running out of place and the law comes with an economic memory of 5,474 million euros, according to the minister, it is at the expense of the regional executives. And not everyone seems to be so for the work.
The Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, underestimated the problem yesterday in a round of meetings with opposition parties, replying to the complaints of certain formations such as Más Madrid or Unidas Podemos (UP) with the argument that in the first round they There were about 3,000 places left unfilled, which have been taken out in the second call and which have been the cause of images of families queuing at the centers to secure one of the last places.
A second round in Catalonia
In Catalonia, young people like Torrijos’ son are going to have a second chance. This week the future of the thousands of students who were left without a VET place is decided, an unprecedented volume of neglected students that has opened a crisis between the Government, the municipalities and the unions. The Department of Education has tried to tackle the problem with a new extraordinary call in which it will offer some 4,000 new places and another 10,000 that were already vacant, starting this September 8, but it remains to be seen that it will respond to all those who they were going to be left out at enrollment.
The exact number of students who want to take a Middle Degree or a Higher Degree in Catalonia and cannot is unknown, but the unions are clear that they are in the thousands. To begin with, 96,000 applicants completed the pre-registration for a total of 68,167 places, a gap of 28,000 people. From Education they recognize that they were not expected that this course requests to take FP would skyrocket by so much, 23% in just one year, when the growth so far was a maximum of 2% year-on-year, according to official sources.
The explanation by the Generalitat is that the consequences of the pandemic and ERTE have returned many people to the educational system. 21% of the applicants for a place are over 20 years old. But this is not an excuse for what has happened, according to the UGT union. “They have pre-registrations since April. If they were caught by surprise, at least they should have corrected the situation with new places and a new call before the summer, not now,” says Jesús Martín, head of FP in the union.
Between pre-registration and enrollment, it should also be noted that some 8,000 people gave up completing the process, but even so this would leave more than 20,000 students without a place. Or at least without access to the studies they wanted.
Because to this complicated situation it must be added that, while there is a general lack of places, many groups according to which specialties are empty. They are not few: Education registered more than 10,000 vacancies between the Middle and Higher grades. This occurs because there are studies that have a lot of pull, such as those related to computer science or care (nursing assistant, social integration or early childhood education), while others in the industrial sector are less attractive.
This mismatch will be one of the challenges that the Government will have to solve beyond whether the extraordinary call of about 14,000 places these days ends up satisfying the students who had been left out.
Chaos in Madrid
In Madrid these days there have been images of families queuing in front of the VET centers themselves trying to obtain a last-minute place, as confirmed by the unions.
The unions in the region claim that thousands of young people are left out of their choice “due to a political decision adopted in favor of private VET companies,” they explain from the UGT. A policy that has drawn a map of VET in which there are 227 private centers compared to 122 public, according to data from the union.
The situation is especially dramatic in health studies, which have gained a great boost with the pandemic, adds CCOO. “The percentage of excluded in health studies reaches, in some cases, to exceed 90%. In Dietetics, for example, 69% of the applications have been rejected; in Dental Prosthesis 78% of the students are left without a public place ; in Clinical and Biomedical Laboratory, 90% “, breaks down the union.
But the Community relies on the lack of demand in certain areas, the unions denounce. “And with these cases he challenges the entire system and justifies the cuts,” laments CCOO. “The truth is that this and previous regional governments have done nothing to solve this problem, which would have an easy solution by improving youth orientation, offering incentives with lower tuition fees, or implementing a scholarship system for public studies that the public demands the most. productive sector”.
While this is happening, or rather not happening, families without a place are forced to choose another training or go to private centers. This is the Torrijos family’s plan B, Isabel explains, although it would entail a great cost. “They are 400 euros a month, which I cannot pay. I would have to take a second mortgage, and I already have a mortgage,” he says. His concrete hope is in the repechage of this Wednesday.