The Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) in cooperation with carmakers Volkswagen Slovakia, PSA Groupe Slovakia and Kia Motors Slovakia as well as the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Slovak University of Technology (STU) in Bratislava, Material and Technology Faculty of STU in Trnava and the Žilina University launched a new project titled “Automotive Junior Academy” (AJA).
The ambition is to introduce the technical studies in a playful way and start a public and expert discussion about how the lack of interest in technical studies threatens the competitiveness of the industry, the TASR newswire reported.
The first year of AJA will open in the towns where the carmakers reside: in Trnava on July 11, in Žilina on July 25 and in Bratislava on August 22. The week-long programme is designed for pupils of seventh and eighth grades of primary schools. Part of the activities will be carried out at schools, while part directly in production plants.
“We consider changes to the education system at all levels and close connection with practice one of the priorities of the current industrial politics of the country,” ZAP head Juraj Sinay said, as quoted by TASR.
With activities like AJA they want to motivate pupils to study at technical schools and show parents and the public why it is important, he added.
“Employers, academia and industrial organisations feel responsible for expert preparation of their future employees,” Sinay continued, as quoted by TASR. “We are aware of the fact that falling interest in technical studies will endanger the competitiveness of industry.”
According to the ZAP analysis, more than 30 percent of university students study specialisations the labour market does not need. The costs of their studies amount to more than €140 million a year.
Another alarming fact is that more than 33,000 qualified employees retire every year, while only 5,000 pupils with required qualification graduate from secondary schools annually.
“We consider the situation more than serious,” Sinay said, as quoted by TASR.
As a result, ZAP joins activities to transform the current system and change it in a way to comply with requirements of employers. Many employers already cooperate with schools in order to support the technical studies and work with talented students, with AJA being one of them, he added.
18. May 2016 at 14:03 | Compiled by Spectator staff