dimecres, 4 de desembre de 2013

The future is hybridization

Article published in the Monography of the Centre d'Estudis Jordi Pujol "Training, labor market and enterprises", September 2013 

There is a recurring debate between labor market, training and enterprises. It is of great relevance in the current times of profound changes that society and economy are living. The economic and financial crisis, unemployment in general, bust specifically among young people, the debate on the professional qualifications and the needs of businesses and organizations, business models and human capital, globalization of economy, qualifications: all these are all very important issues for social and economic organization.

There is no doubt that old paradigms that have been in place for decades are disappearing in recent years. The old clear and sharp differentiation between education stage and the subsequent professional stage has completely collapsed. The concept of lifelong learning, which impliesa permanent state of training and retraining of us all, in an economy and a society far more changeable and dynamic. Moreover, the classic concept of training for a profession (or even for a job) has also been broken. The economy and the labour market increasingly generate new needs and new professional profiles that often cannot fit in the classic professions of the industrial and post -industrial. Every day more versatile profiles are required, more adaptability, where several fields of knowledge are intertwined and mixed, where the certainties of yesterday become temporary factors and are outdated today. The increasing interconnectedness between various professions and traditional knowledge breaks old patterns of a society and an economy that once was more predictable.

In this context, the paradigm that emerges strongly is hybridization. In ecology, hybridization is the process of mixing different species or varieties of organisms to create a hybrid. In our case, training, labor market and the enterprises are increasingly creating hybrid solutions to new social and economic realities. And it often does after acquiring professional skills as well as knowledge. For example, hybridization between the classroom and open learning or virtual education.It imposes increasingly open complementarity between training and classroom teaching classic: a good example is the recent phenomenon of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Open educational resources everywhere open new perspectives, which will be combined with formal education. Also, in close connection with this, we see that training is everywhere and not only in the classical classroom: learning and training are in the classroom, in college, in the laboratory, but also at work, in Internet, in the city. As the philosopher Daniel Innerarity says in his book La democraciadelconocimiento, the new knowledge society is defined by institutionalizing reflective mechanisms at all specific functional areas, which become learning tools of society. In this context , institutions such as universities, which are increasing its importance in the knowledge society, have lost their monopoly as the central institution in relation to the production of knowledge, and compete with her other institutions that produce knowledge and characterized by a more immediate praxis.

Another formula in which we find hybridization is between formal education and non-formal training. In this context, in several countries there are already underway accreditation processes and recognition of training acquired in non-formal learning either acquired in the workplace or in non-formal training.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning the increasing hybridization towards an increasingly internationalized training. Just aa few years ago the training processes had national borders, today the education of many people has becomeinternational: masters in other countries, international doctorates, but also in-company training in multinational companies, open education, etc.

The latter phenomenon of hybridization, probably the most relevant in terms of the relationship between labor market, enterprises and employment, is the dual or combined training. It seeks to encourage training processes closely linked to their applicability and the reality of companies and organizations of all kinds. The case of Germany in this dual tradition is paradigmatic. Companies tailor train young people adapting to their needs. These young students gain experience and get a first job at 20 or 21. In Germany, more than 55 % of young people opt for vocational training, and it has a high social prestige. In the German dual training system, young people devote half the time or more to paid internships and Social Security contributions. It is estimated that about 80 % of young people are employed by the company that has benefited from the program. It is a shared responsibility between the public and private sectors, with training based primarily on the practical requirements of companies. The benefits, according to the grouping of the chambers of commerce of Germany, are obvious. For companies it is a positive program that influences the content of vocational training. The costs of recruitment and selection are lower and ensure the next generation of skilled employees. For young employees, because they get relevant training for the labor market, acquire social skills and have a double motivation (economic and educational). Finally, for governments, the private contribution relieves public budgets and especially helps to consolidate a low youth unemployment rate. In Catalonia a dual training has been launched last year, and in this sense we should motivate all stakeholders - businesses, schools and government - to grow and strengthen the initiative. Also, anotherinitiative has been launched in our country that was much needed, in this case it is in the field of university-industry relationship: industrial doctorates. Here companies and universities share a research project and together train a future PhD holder- These examples usually end up developing their professional work in the company and therefore activate a R&D process as well as introducing innovation and competitiveness in the company. We find a good tradition in countries such as Denmark, France and the UK. Hybridization was imposed as a paradigm for the future.

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