A GROUP of companies at an industrial park in the town of Žiar nad Hronom (Banská Bystrica Region) have decided to take matters into their own hands and deal with the lack of qualified labour by building their own training and education centre.
The centre will focus on metallurgy and the processing and recycling of light metals, the SITA news wire wrote.
"Unemployment in this region has been decreasing over the past few years thanks to the investors in the industrial park," Mayor Ivan Černaj of Žiar nad Hronom told SITA. "In 2003 [unemployment] was at around 26 percent. Now it is at around 14 percent. But there has started to be shortage of qualified work force."
Černaj said the project is still in the planning stages so the costs have not yet been calculated and it has not yet been decided whether the centre will be launched by the local government or the association of companies.
"We will certainly cooperate with the local secondary school," he said. "Students will attend courses that correspond with the needs of the companies that will employ them. They will also get practical training in these companies during their studies."
Representatives of the town, regional government, Košice's Technical University and the companies located in the park - Slovalco, Žiarska Hutnícka Spoločnosť, Rautenbach Slovakia, Fagorederlan Slovensko, Sapa Profily, ZSNP and others - have created a joint steering committee. This committee will plan out three centres - the Centre for Education, the Centre of Applied Research and the Centre for the Support and Realization of Innovations. They also hope to be able to draw on EU funds for the project.
The industrial park was built on the former premises of the ZSNP company, which was taken over by the Penta Investments private equity group in 2002. The premises were re-built into an industrial complex. Today the park houses more than 180 businesses employing more than 4,700 people.
The companies located in the park, which covers 278 hectares, reach an aggregate annual turnover of over Sk20 billion (€600 million).
The production and processing of aluminium and its alloys is the dominant focus of the complex's industrial production.
By Jana Liptáková
14. May 2007 at 0:00