Speaking in Brussels, Dr. Horst Neumann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft responsible for Human Resources, called for a concerted effort among Europeans to combat youth unemployment in Europe. “The most urgent tasks include combating unemployment and opening up future prospects for young people. Europe’s industrial base is the key factor in our prosperity, growth and employment. This is why we need a modern industrial policy with a long-term orientation, jobs in industry and the expansion of dual vocational training in Europe,” said Neumann on Monday evening in Brussels at the new year’s reception held by Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft at the Lower Saxony Representation to the European Union.
Neumann said that the employment initiative of the European Commission for young people was a good first step, as was the decision taken by the special European summit in Paris to make €45 billion available for combating youth unemployment. He added that both steps went in the right direction but that the decisions would now need to be followed by action: “Especially young people in Southern Europe urgently need prospects for the future. For this reason, the funds made available must be channeled rapidly and unbureaucratically into training, qualification and employment projects.”
“Volkswagen already started to improve the future prospects of young people in Europe by its own efforts in 2012,” Neumann emphasized. “For example, we offer young graduates in Portugal, Spain and Italy our two-year trainee program StartUp Europe. This gives 180 young engineers from Spain and Portugal an opportunity to find their place in our company. In 2014, we opened the program up to young Italians.” In addition, the Volkswagen Belegschaftsstiftung (Volkswagen Employees’ Foundation) is providing €3 million in support of a project in Portugal which will create 100 training opportunities for socially deprived young people.
Neumann emphasized that jobs in industry were the foundation for stability and prosperity in Europe. “Over the past five years, Volkswagen has created almost 45,000 new, additional jobs in Europe.” He said that Volkswagen was committed to its locations and to the social responsibility of the Group in Europe.
Neumann stated that dual vocational training and qualification in the vocational families, which Volkswagen was expanding to all its locations in Europe, was a key investment in the future of young people and the Group. “Good vocational training with a close combination of theory and practice offers effective protection against unemployment. At the same time, it lays the foundation for good workmanship, which is among the success factors of our company together with engineering skills and design, strong innovation and research activities and codetermination,” Neumann added.
Neumann mentioned SEAT in Spain as a good European example for the development of dual vocational training. “SEAT was the first Spanish company to start dual vocational training with its training year 2012/2013.”