You lear working, not in school was the main idea of Santiago García Echevarría when he returned from Switzerland returning from the event organised by the Novia Salcedo Foundation.
“Look at these countries – all Northern European economies- since the beginning of the crisis they have hardly had youth unemployment”, he announces from the outset. According to the professor emeritus in Economic Policy, the key difference lies in the concept of dual training. A strange idea in these parts and that consists in combining study and work simultaneously, from the age of 18, so that young people complete their learning process with the sufficient professional experience to become competitive in the labour market.
“You have to learn at the same time. The development of a person is not a linear process, it has two facets: on the one hand there is purely technical knowledge, but there is also a social dimension. Learning about cooperation. ‘The common good’ as we would call it. And you don’t learn that at school, but working”.
According to the professor, what makes us different from our Nordic neighbours is not so much an issue of character, which some people use as an excuse, but of corporate mentality. “We have a short-term vision, but we should start looking at the long term. The basis of companies should be people rather than capital”. He clarifies that his speech focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, not on large corporations. “Those are executives, I am speaking about entrepreneurs”, specifies García Echevarría. He has no doubt that the “key” is actually the people.
Asked about youth emigration to these countries, García Echevarría is not surprised. On the contrary: “Spanish people adapt perfectly in Germany. Their training is highly valued there”. In Germany 80 % of young people are employed and are training at the same time, and there are “fifth and sixth generations working in the same company, because they value people”.