Educated Employees Czech Republic: Practice is the Best Teacher

Author / Editor: Roman Dvořák, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, MM Industrial Spectrum, Czech Republic / Rosemarie Stahl

For the last twenty years I spent a lot of time among owners and managers of mechanical engineering firms and from discussions with a number of them from growing and flourishing firms, I realized a basic fact and at every further meeting I was repeatedly convinced of it.

Percentage of 25-34 year-olds with attainment below upper secondary education (2014)
Percentage of 25-34 year-olds with attainment below upper secondary education (2014)
(Source: Education at a Glance 2015, OECD)

The most valuable item they possess are their loyal and erudite employees and not sufficient cash flow, innovated products, standing on the market, newly built production shops full of state of the art cybernetic/physical technologies fulfilling all attributes of Industry 4.0 of our fourth industrial revolution and a number of other high-tech elements of the material world. Managers with foresight are well aware of the fact that, if they will take care of their employees, they will have the greatest chance to gain one of the main guarantees – prospect of their existence. It will be a great honour for the best employees to work for such an open-minded employer and on the other hand synergy will be achieved in a mutually expedient partnership. This is how a good entrepreneur thinks, otherwise his firm will not be able to survive and will disappear from the face of the earth.

Unqualified Graduates and a Shortage of Personnel

We all explicitly realize that the greatest problem of all employers without exception is the shortage of technically educated personnel across all Europe. This does not concern only trades but namely graduates of technical branches of secondary schools and technical universities. Schools often produce professions nobody is interested in. Their graduates are often insufficiently qualified for jobs offered on the labour market and states must often spend money on their requalification. And nobody takes notice of the fact that in a number of European countries a system exists which produces candidates for employment agencies. Reasons for this situation do not bother anyone – only consequences are dealt with. And where do these countries obtain funds? Again from the sphere of education. They cut expenditures on education without any effort to improve the system.

If we cannot assure that all graduates will be immediately employed, the situation will be quite desperate. In the past this was achieved by the “mushroom“ growth of new sectors of industry. The automotive, aerospace and power engineering industries created a broad variety of jobs and these sectors generated funds which even covered sectors which were unproductive. However in the new millenium no new sectors were created and instead a global economic crisis started accompanied by a deficiency of funds. And for education in such fields as cybernetics or physical systems (attributes of Industry 4.0) teachers must be highly qualified and learned.

An idea was proposed that firms could, to a certain degree, take over the responsibility of the state for the professional education of its future employees and the candidates could gain topical knowledge from professionals working in firms. In my view this is a way how to educate loyal and learned employees as I mentioned in the introduction. And how do you see it?