Study highlights potential for investment in vocational education and training in Eastern Europe

Opportunity for family businesses in the battle for talent
Welche Gründe sprechen aus Ihrer Sicht für eine eigene Ausbildung vor Ort?

1 February 2023, Munich. The growth potential for family businesses in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is vast, but skilled workers are in short supply. In-company training supplemented by vocational school (cooperative education) is still not well established in the region and there is often a lack of corresponding structures.

German family businesses in particular are already doing a great deal, but can still expand their training and further education in this area. This applies to both the scope and how activities are organised on site. This is the finding of a new study – “Cooperative Education and Continuing Vocational Education and Training in Central and Eastern Europe” – by the Foundation for Family Businesses. The study examines for the first time how family businesses in the region are providing such training and offers recommendations for action.

Problems on the local labour market

The researchers at the University of Bremen, led by Prof. Michael Gessler, examined seven countries with which Germany has important trading relationships: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Serbia. These countries alone are home to 4,520 branches of German companies employing a total of more than 1.4 million people.

The researchers also conducted empirical surveys of 193 German family businesses. The results show that some 90% of them have problems finding staff with the right qualifications on the local labour market. Using corporate case studies such as Gühring (Poland), Mubea (Czech Republic) and Festo (Hungary), the study also provides detailed insights into how dual vocational education and training structures can be established in these countries.

More cooperation and European thinking

The researchers make nine specific action recommendations to enhance vocational education and training in CEE and make it more attractive. They call on education ministries in Germany and CEE to collaborate in future. Companies, too, they argue, should work together more. Trainees at firms in CEE should have the opportunity to spend time abroad, for example with a parent company in Germany. The recommendations target family businesses themselves along with education ministries, business and social partners, the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and vocational schools in CEE.

“The Central and Eastern Europe region is hugely important to the German economy. This is immediately clear from the ranking of Germany’s foreign trading partners: we import more from Poland than from either France or Italy. And we export more to the Czech Republic than to Spain or Sweden”, says Professor Rainer Kirchdörfer, Member of the Executive Board of the Foundation for Family Businesses. “However, Central and Eastern Europe has a shortage of skilled workers. German family businesses are already working hard on this issue, but there is an urgent need to boost vocational education and training in the region. This would be a big win for Europe’s labour markets.”

Major efforts by German family businesses

The survey of 193 companies shows that 73.6% are providing training in CEE, motivated partly by a desire to take on social responsibility. This already strong figure is set to rise to 89% by the end of 2023. Over 70% of businesses are also planning to significantly ramp up their training efforts in the coming years.

In Europe, political agreements seeking to create a European education and training area date back more than 20 years. Particularly in six of the seven countries studied in CEE, these have had a real impact over the past decade. Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and Serbia have all created or amended legislation to promote the dual system of vocational education and training. Such comprehensive reform has yet to take place in the Czech Republic, however.

Related materials

Related publications

  • Welche Gründe sprechen aus Ihrer Sicht für eine eigene Ausbildung vor Ort?

Related News

Cookie settings

Just like other websites, we use cookies to improve and personalize your experience. We collect standard Internet log information and aggregated data to analyse our traffic. Our preference and marketing cookies allow us to adapt our content and ads to our audience interests.