It is in the national interest for young people to have competitive skills
23. 04. 2018.
At the opening ceremony of the 11th “Star of the Profession” festival at the Hungexpo fair centre in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stressed that Hungary must build a country in which workers and work have prestige, and in which every young person can enter a valuable occupation or gain a useful qualification.

The Prime Minister said that “This is our goal, this is why we entered into an agreement with the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and this is why we are going to enter into another agreement with them for the coming four years”.

He asked the students present “to jointly build a Hungary” to which they can always return. The Hungarian people must fight for everything, Mr. Orbán said: for their own skilled workers, their own young people and their own future.

Europe today, he continued, has been “assembled” so that richer countries with more fortunate pasts are able to cream off other nations’ skilled young people. “Employers from other countries have their eyes on you, too”, he pointed out. In his opinion there are two possible responses to this: on the one hand, pride in young Hungarians being able to hold their own anywhere in the world; and on the other hand, “building a Hungary where jobs, decent salaries, security and the possibility of owning a family home await young people”. In this regard he observed that in the recent parliamentary election the Hungarian people decided that “Hungary should remain a Hungarian country”.

Photo: Gergely Botár

According to the Prime Minister, sooner or later every country comes to resemble its young people, “and we Hungarians would like a competitive country, a country which successfully competes in any of the world’s arenas”. He said that raising young people who have marketable and competitive skills is in the national interest.

It would also be good, he added, for school-leavers to be proud of being able to contribute their knowledge, work and achievements to “the thousand-year creation which we simply call the Hungarian motherland”.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Mr. Orbán told his audience that “If you choose a good profession, a secure future awaits you, you may become honoured and recognised professionals of the most important businesses in Hungary and the world”. He concluded his speech with a variant on his customary exhortation: “Go for it Hungary, go for it young Hungarians!”

László Parragh, the President of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, gave a welcome speech at the opening of the 11th “Star of the Profession” festival and the national finals of the “Excellent Vocational Student” contest, the National Vocational Studies Contest and the 5th “SkillsHungary” contest. He said that if someone is good in their chosen profession and successfully participates in a national study contest, they can have easier access to higher education.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Mr. Parragh said that this celebration of professions has been held for eleven years, with the first event showcasing fifteen professions. This year, however, will see forty-three professions represented in the competition at the Hungexpo fair centre, over a period of three days from Monday onwards. He highlighted that 67 per cent of companies have said that there is a shortage of skilled workers in Hungary. He added, however, that the shortage is not of skilled workers, but of the strength needed for development of the nation. This must be increased, he said, and this is an enormous task. He noted that this year more than seven thousand students entered the contests, with 236 of them making it to the finals, representing 108 educational institutions. There are four contestants from beyond the borders, representing four schools from Transcarpathia, Transylvania, Vojvodina and Felvidék in southern Slovakia respectively.

Mr. Parragh said that while the necessary regulatory procedure has already started, implementation is yet to take place in order to make it easier for skilled workers to gain access to higher education. As an example he mentioned that many of the directors in major automotive industry companies started their careers as skilled workers. He highlighted the importance of popularising training programmes which are in demand on the labour market. He added that dual training will have to be further strengthened, in addition to which digitalisation and the development of an objective national examination system are equally important. He said that students from schools which are interested in the event will be able to participate free of charge. This year they are expecting some ten thousand students, 70 per cent of whom are about to choose a career.

Photo: Gergely Botár

Project manager Zsófia Csiszár announced that the EuroSkills contest – the Europe-wide version of Star of the Profession – will be held in Budapest between 26 and 28 September. This European championships of professions will determine Europe’s finest from among more than five hundred students – including twenty-seven Hungarians – from twenty-eight countries.