Vanesa Marcos
Communications and Pedagogic Innovation Director
Global Open University (GOU)
/
Expert Contributor

Dual Learning Addresses Youth Employability, Market Demands

By Vanesa Marcos | Mon, 04/04/2022 - 09:00

Young people represent the possibility of positive change in societies but nowadays the market presents serious challenges: skills mismatch, lack of work experience and economic crises that have become increasingly permanent. On the one hand, a lack of skills keeps young people out of work or in temporary or informal jobs; on the other hand, many are caught in a vicious cycle: they cannot gain work experience because they cannot find work, and they cannot find work because they do not have work experience.

One solution in the international arena is the dual learning system, a learning model that reinforces the involvement of companies in the educational structure. The dual apprenticeship system has its origins in the craft guilds of the Middle Ages, which developed almost everywhere in Central Europe based on the idea of "learning by doing," under the supervision of a master. The system was adapted in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries and then gave way to the combination of education and production, especially in Germany, although the system has also been successfully adapted in Austria, Switzerland, South Korea and incipiently, in Spain. The system is also linked to a long tradition of cooperation between employers, trade unions and government to train new workers in an organized way in the company while, at the same time, guaranteeing the acquisition of basic training at school. This is why it is called "dual."

The obvious advantages are that the students gain the working experience demanded by employers during the learning period. Also, the companies have the opportunity to hire prospective employees who are trained in their companies. The student benefits from a dual type of mentoring that involves an academic education together with professional training. The students emerge as well-trained professionals who are familiar with everyday working life because of having trained in the company. They understand the “corporate culture” and are already an integral part of the company’s networks.

What is important to establish is an adequate and efficient relationship between the companies and the academic institutions so that the mentoring of the student is systematically planned and adequately assessed. The cost of the training should be shared between the enterprises and the educational institutions because it is a win-win situation for both the academic institutions, as it allows them to be up to date with the work demands in a short period of time, and for the companies because they can benefit from trained professionals who have acquired specific working experience, thus increasing their competitivity.

The present is the future in the dual approach. Let’s pave the way for a long-lasting relationship.

Photo by:   Vanesa Marcos