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German-style vocational education course completed in Kispest

Kispest-based Kontiki Vocational Center in Budapest’s District XIX completed its first dual training courses on July 12, László Kajos, president of Kontiki’s school board, has told the bbj.hu.

László Kajos, president of Kontiki Vocational Center’s school board, and CEO of Kontiki Ltd.

This project is a cooperation between the Hanseatic Parliament (an association of more than 50 business chambers around the Baltic Sea region), the Baltic Sea Academy, and the Hungarian Association of Craftsmenʼs Corporation (IPOSZ). The theoretical and practical vocational training, based on a German model that featured medium-sized companies and vocational training centers, has been successfully adapted to Hungarian conditions characterized by the predominance of small and family-owned businesses. 

“Ninety-four trainees in catering, carpentry, construction and the garment industry accomplished their vocational internship last week,” boasted Kajos, CEO of Kontiki Ltd. The specialty of the educational program, launched in 2016, is that trainees become familiar with their future vocations “on the job”, that is, at SMEs. They acquire theoretical knowledge simultaneously with hands-on training.  

“One can only commit oneself to a profession in a professional milieu,” Kajos said of the system. “Only those who have already grasped its practical use and applicability can appreciate theoretical knowledge,” he added. The dual vocational training adapted by Hungary closely follows the German example: the proportion of theoretical and practical studies is 30% to 70%, respectively. 

Kajos believes such dual education schemes can be an answer to unemployment statistics that show 30% of Hungarian youngsters aged between 15 and 24 are long-term unemployed. That can be attributed to two parallel processes, Kajos explained. On one hand, the professional knowledge of secondary school-leavers does not meet the needs of most SMEs. On the other hand, vocational training has lost its career appeal to students and their parents.  

“German unemployment statistics show that dual vocational training results a much lower unemployment rate among youngsters,” Kajos said. “That is closely connected to work-based learning strategies developed by the Baltic Sea Academy, a Hamburg-based umbrella-organization of North German training centers,” Kajos added. The lion’s share of adapting the German methodology to the needs of the Hungarian labor market has been accomplished by IPOSZ, in cooperation with the Kontiki Vocational Centre.