There is a lack of support for trades and crafts
As has already been stated with regard to the construction industry, the trades suffer from low public appreciation. This is very unfortunate. The crafts or trades, so important in terms of creativity and innovation, comprise an enormous amount of expertise that needs to be passed on, and there are constant changes in a whole range of fields of activity.
Christian Reuter, deputy general secretary of the Chamber of Trades and Crafts, chatted to us on this subject. In Luxembourg, 2,500 to 3,000 additional jobs are created each year. However, finding qualified staff is difficult. Therefore, we have to employ foreigners living in Luxembourg or commuters from beyond. Critical fingers have repeatedly been pointed at the basic vocational training provided in the Grand Duchy, and it is regarded as the “stepchild” of the education system. Only meagre resources are made available for this field, and this unchanging bad image – both in society and among young people, for whom it provides very good career opportunities – has a very negative impact on the industry.
“Young people are directed to the field of the trades, because they generally did not do well at school. Vocational training should rather receive more positive publicity because of its very special qualities.”
It is advisable to consider the example that Germany sets in this regard. There, it is not seen as negative if a young person undergoes vocational training, and one often meets students with a bachelor's degree who continue their careers in a vocational training course. This is a central point, because – as Christian Reuter emphasises once more – as soon as a company becomes successful and experiences an upturn, its need for highly-qualified personnel increases.
In the Grand Duchy,
intensive publicity work needs to be done to highlight the skilled trades. The following problem has to be solved: Many young people lack the motivation to study and put in the work necessary to acquire the appropriate professional competences, because they have been directed into the vocational training system due to their failure in the general school system. At the same time, there is a lack of social appreciation for these competences.
The Chamber of Trades and Crafts,
therefore, decided to address the problem and set up competence centres for engineering and manufacturing (Génie technique et parachèvement). Professor Marc Ant, deputy managing director of these competence centres for engineering and manufacturing, emphasises the fact that these centres, which have existed since 1 January 2016, are already offering a wide range of educational activities in cooperation with the responsible partners in education and industry. The training courses are structured according to the Luxembourg qualification framework and are based on the competences required for the further development of companies and their employees.
The project “Hands Up”,
under direction of the Chamber of Trades and Crafts, aims to provide information on the large and varied range of trade occupations through specific reports by those directly involved, videos, and games. They highlight the most prominent areas of activity as well as the most unusual ones. One must keep in mind that the craft sector includes no fewer than 150 areas of activity. If you are enthusiastic, there are very interesting career development opportunities open to you, and you can also become self-employed.
“If your professional career is carried out in a bank, you have little chance of opening your own bank one day”
In the craft trades, it is permissible to imagine starting your own business, and you can think up new forms of innovation, communication, and sales in a multi-faceted world. Young people, know this – you can invent your own future profession!