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Jürgen Schreder, Commercial Counsellor, Advantage Austria

Dual Education Needs A Makeover

With direct investments totalling 2.83 billion euros, Austria is among the top foreign investor countries in Serbia. For Austrian companies, the availability of a qualified workforce is an important and decisive factor when it comes to choosing where to base new hubs for foreign operations, which is why continuous support for dual education is a focal point of the work of ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

It is my pleasure that, at the start of September, after seven years as commercial counsellor of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, I have also taken on the same function for Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro – says Jürgen Schreder, Commercial Counsellor at ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, speaking at the beginning of our interview. He adds that, just like his predecessors, he would also like to contribute to further developing the already excellent economic relations between Serbia and Austria, in order for this extremely successful cooperation to continue.

When it comes to foreign trade exchange and FDI volume statistics for Serbia, Austria ranks among the top three countries. Austrian companies also occupy a particularly strong position in Serbia’s service sector.

Schreder says it’s very important for him to continue bilateral cooperation in the area of dual education.

Over the course of the past six years, thanks in part to Austrian support, Serbia has introduced an already very successful dual education system, and thereby developed a crucial instrument in offering young people a pathway to the Serbian labour market.

Some 14 professional profiles have been developed within the scope of this project, including commercial trader and freight forwarder, which served as models to shape many other educational profiles. During the 2022/23 academic year, approximately 70 educational profiles will be available at around 150 Serbian schools. More than 8,000 schoolchildren have already received opportunities to engage in dual education, including at least 200 individuals representing disadvantaged sections of the population.

With state-approved education and learning through both work placements within companies and at schools, they are prepared to launch a successful professional career. The project simultaneously provides Serbian companies with an opportunity to secure qualified workers tailored to their needs.

Why is the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO / ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA) included in introducing dual education to Serbia?

With direct investments amounting to 2.83 billion euros, Austria is one of the largest foreign investors in Serbia. These investments have also provided jobs for around 22,000 people.

Serbia is very highly valued as a business partner. For Austrian companies, the availability of qualified labour is an important factor when deciding on a new location for doing business abroad. Professional work-based training is among the most sought-after qualifications among companies in Austria, which is why companies invest a lot in professional training to prepare their future professional personnel.

For Austrian investors in Serbia, it is equally of central importance that the workforce be shaped according to the dual model, thus securing a constant number of professional workers, on the one hand, while, on the other, enabling young people in Serbia to have better prospects for a future in their homeland

For Austrian investors in Serbia, it is equally of central importance that the workforce be shaped according to the dual model, thus securing a constant number of professional workers, on the one hand, while, on the other, enabling young people in Serbia to have better prospects for a future in their homeland.

How can ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA support Serbian partners? What is the Austrian Chamber’s role in this cooperation?

Education systems cannot, and must not, be simply copied. Our Serbian partners are moulding their own Serbian model of dual education in an impressive way.

We (ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA), as the institution responsible for implementing the entire administration of dual secondary-vocational education in Austria, and which simultaneously also has a significant influence over the development of new educational profiles, are happy to make our knowhow and experience available to our partners in Serbia.

Our objective is quite clear: to bring to life the legal framework that has now been created, but also to draw on the experience of what we’ve learned and improve the conditions of the framework. This implies the continuation of capacity building support to the relevant institutions in Serbia, in order to provide the best possible conditions to institutions for dual education.

We are currently working on the introduction of new educational profiles that the economy requires urgently and that will provide young people with attractive occupations in their home country (e.g., plastics processor).

What topics will you engage in during the period ahead?

ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA will continue to engage in ways that benefit the economy. Dual education must be made even more attractive, both for companies and schoolchildren. It is essential to improve the professional skills of schoolchildren in order for them to be visible on the labour market. We will continue advocating for dual education to be as attractive as possible for everyone involved.

When it comes to foreign trade exchange and FDI volume statistics for Serbia, Austria ranks among the top three countries. Austrian companies also occupy a particularly strong position in Serbia’s service sector

Chambers of Commerce – like ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia – speak on behalf of all of their member companies and represent everyone’s interests. Branch associations of chambers of commerce, within their own structures, harmonise the development of new educational profiles in accordance with the latest business trends and the needs of the economy.

COOPERATION

I would like to contribute to further developing the already excellent economic relations between Serbia and Austria, in order for this extremely successful cooperation to continue

FOCUS

We are currently working on the introduction of new educational profiles that the economy requires urgently and that will provide young people with attractive occupations in their home country

SUPPORT

We want to continue providing capacity building support to the relevant institutions in Serbia, in order to provide the best possible conditions to institutions for dual education

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