“We are the champions”

7 Nov

This was the title last Friday of an article in the free city newspaper Heute (Today). The subject of the article? The recent WorldSkills fair in London (http://www.worldskillslondon2011.com/), where people between the ages of 17 and 25 compete to see who is best at his or her job. Austrians won three Gold, one Silver, and two Bronze medals. One of Gold medals went to a fine pastries chef, Stefan Lubinger, so you may think that Austria simply used its natural advantages to good effect. šŸ˜‰Ā In fact, what probably helped this small country (only 8 million inhabitants) to do so well is the ongoing belief and investment in vocational education (I’m consciously not using the word “training” because it is, in fact, an education).

The apprenticeship system–where studentsĀ spend a certain part of every school week in the classroom learningĀ the theoretical part of their trade and what they need to one day run their own small business andĀ the rest of the time practicing in a work environment under masters–is alive and still relatively well in Austria and serves a real purpose. It makes sure that pupils who do not want to go on with academic subjects have a viable alternative in the educational system and also that the population has a pool of extremely well-qualified stone masons, plumbers, electricians, waiters, chimney sweeps, office admin staff, pastry chefs, and so on.Ā  Truly seems like a win-win situation to me!

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One Response to ““We are the champions””

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  1. EuroSkills 2014 | ecbinvienna - October 12, 2014

    […] excellent system of apprenticeships and vocational education. (More about that in my earlier post: https://ecbinvienna.com/2011/11/07/we-are-the-champions/ ) They followed that comment up with a reprimand to Austrian companies who complain loudly about […]

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