SPAIN: Salesian missionaries hold first basic vocational training projects competition with more than 500 students
(MissionNewswire) On May 4, the Salesian center of Carabanchel, located in Madrid, Spain, hosted the first basic vocational training projects competition. More than 500 students from the Salesian centers in Burgos, Pamplona, Logroño, Villamuriel (Palencia), Deusto (Bilbao) and Madrid participated. At the event, Salesian missionaries renewed their commitment to fostering basic vocational training to further ensure that youth have access to the skills training needed to find and retain employment.
Basic vocational training is taking root and expanding in Spain. It is not only a means of assisting students who have dropped out or not completed their compulsory secondary education, but also of ensuring students achieve social and professional success via skills training and developing a trade.
The students hosted the meeting along with facilitating various sports activities. The event presented awards to all of the participating centers and to the three projects most appreciated by the juries. Fernando García, coordinator of the schools in the Saint James the Greater Salesian Province, underlined festive nature of the meeting while José Antonio Poveda, secretary general of the Catholic schools of Madrid, congratulated the students for their work and encouraged them to continue in their progress.
There were also positive reactions from the political authorities present at the event. “Congratulations to the Salesian teachers, students and centers for this initiative concerning an educational phase that is central,” wrote Ismael Sanz, head of scholarships and training aid of the community of Madrid.
The Deputy Director-General of Private and Concerted Education, Ileana Guaita wrote, “We were impressed by the fantastic work you do and how your students feel so proud and motivated to learn by doing. Congratulations.”
Salesian centers in Spain operate close to 50 vocational training centers with a total of close to 16,000 students and 1,000 teachers, as well as the Salesian Social Platforms that offer professional training. These training programs are thanks to the support of companies from different sectors. In recent months, the Salesians in Spain have signed collaboration agreements for professional training with other major companies including Schneider Electric, Hoffmann Group and Siemens.
Hard hit by economic troubles in Europe, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens is living below the poverty line and poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.
“With so many young people out of work and facing conditions of poverty in Spain, it is vital for Salesian workforce development programs to respond to market demand,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students in these programs have a real opportunity to enter the workforce prepared both in terms of the skills they have learned and in their social development, ensuring a lifelong ability to retain livable wage employment and escape poverty.”
World Bank – Spain