With Vice President Human Resources, Mr. Martin Pitorak, on cooperation with local schools and dual education
In the current school year, more than four hundred students of secondary vocational schools in Slovakia are preparing for the first time for their future occupation according to the actual needs and requirements of employers. Nowadays, the system of dual education being characterized by close interconnection of theory and practice is applied by almost ninety firms, and many others, after being certificated, are going to do so in the next school year.
We asked USSK Vice President Human Resources Mr. Martin Pitorák about the potential for cooperation of the steelworks in Košice with the secondary vocational schools, which gives a prognosis of acquisition of qualified workforce in the years to come, and also shows the attitude of the Company to the system of dual education, elements of which have been applied by our Company for decades.
“In its labor recruitment strategy, U. S. Steel Košice has made a bet on youth. We believe that it is correct strategy to invest in education and influence the interests and qualifications of potential employees soon coming from the secondary schools. Moreover, we see certain potential in the new system of dual education which was enacted within the amendment to the law on vocational education and preparation. After certain corrections, it may bring fresh air into technical education,” said the Vice President. He also remarked that the steelworks in Košice actively cooperates with the secondary vocational schools on a long-term basis; we could mention in particular the Secondary Vocational School in Košice – Šaca, namely with the objective of supporting the vocational preparation of pupils directly at the workplaces of the factory. In the course of study, the pupils complete dozens of hours of professional practice in the process of production, and the theoretical preparation within the framework of school educational programs in which U. S. Steel Košice participates is also made to their measure. “For this reason the school-leavers of the selected specialization of both schools are preferred when recruited for employment at your company. Only in this year, they represent almost eighty percent of all the recruited employees,” specified Martin Pitorák. “At the present time, our cooperation is all the more important in that for a longer period of time we can see that interest in technical education is on the wane. Certain corrections on the labor market have nevertheless taken place,” he emphasized, and added that while graduates in humanistic specializations frequently remained jobless, skilled metal-workers, welders or electricians will always find jobs.
“Historically, our Company is one of the few in Slovakia which has not given up the elements of the dual system of preparation for work. With our partner school in Šaca, we have jointly prepared specialists for the needs of the blast furnaces for more than fifty years, and with the other schools for a shorter period of time,” stated the Vice President. Of course, this system of education is a little different from the new system of dual education, but the intention is the same: to prepare young people for work directly in practice. We are interested in utilization of such as offered by the new dual education. For this reason, we have also proceeded with the necessary certification of selected workplaces in the factory, and successfully. However, this depends on the fulfillment of several terms and conditions, whether we officially enter the system of dual education from the next school year 2016/2017,” concluded Vice President Human Resources Martin Pitorák.