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Car industry in Slovakia bemoans lack of highway and state of education

PROBLEMS that are inhibiting the auto industry’s further development in Slovakia include the absence of a highway connecting the west and the east of the country, a lack of qualified workers and a dearth of links between science, innovation and the sector’s needs, representatives of the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) told the press on April 14, after meeting with subcontractors in Košice and Prešov Regions.

ZAP chair Jaroslav Holeček also said there is still room for a fourth carmaker in Slovakia.

“It is not under consideration at the moment, but there surely is adequate room for even two car producers in the area between Banská Bystrica, Žilina and the eastern regions,” Holeček said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The carmakers say one of the most important changes needed is the completion of the highway from Žilina to eastern Slovakia. According to Holeček, the road should have been built long ago, as reported by TASR. He also said that 75 percent of the 300 automotive industry sub-contractors are based in western Slovakia.

Another problem hindering the industry’s development is the education system. Holeček finds it paradoxical that although the unemployment rate is relatively high, companies face a lack of qualified workers.

“Our prognosis shows an annual need for 42,000 new employees with secondary school education, 30,000 of whom would serve only to replace retiring workers,” he said, as quoted by TASR. “On the other hand, according to statistics, fewer than 5,000 high school graduates land jobs in their respective fields of study.”

Changing this unfavourable situation would require transforming the education system. ZAP would like to see the secondary school education system adopt elements of a dual education system, which would enable students to acquire most of the practical skills necessary for companies in the industry. Toward that end, ZAP plans to launch some pilot projects in September. Slovakia also needs to orient its research and development fields more towards practice.

“Science and innovation are not linked with the needs of our most important industry,” Holeček explained, as quoted by TASR.

Because of this, ZAP has proposed the creation of the Centre for Strategic Research and Development, which would specialise in the auto industry and serve a number of companies.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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Topic: Automotive


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