The idea that universities offer a better professional future is rapidly changing. The old advice that “you have to go to university if you want to be somebody” is going out of date. There is a growing number of unemployed graduates, while those holding qualifications in vocational training (Formació Professional – FP) tend to find work more quickly than those who have earned a university degree. According to a study by the Council of Chambers of Commerce in Catalonia, the percentage of FP students entering the labour market is 55% and their unemployment rate is 8.9%, which is 23% lower than the youth unemployment rate for the whole of Spain.
This situation is driving people to change their perception of the kind of courses that have historically been seen as socially inferior to university degrees. In this context, the number of job offers for FP graduates outnumbered those of university graduates for the first time ever this January, according to the data from Adecco and Infoempleo, with 42% and 38.5% of the vacancies respectively.
The greater employability and the demand for technical jobs has had an influence on the increase in enrolment this year, rising to 860,000 students, which is 23,000 more than last year. As it is, the demand outstripped the courses available, leaving 30,000 students without a place. It finally seems as though the slogan of that recruitment campaign from a few years back is coming true: FP means Future Promise.
More FP on offer at the Education Fair
This year, the Education Fair, organized by Fira de Barcelona, will have a special focus on Formació Professional, with more centres, a specific orientation service for medium and higher level studies, and 1,500 m² of new space where there will be demonstrations of professions, talks with practicioners who have completed these courses and displays by companies who take part in dual FP programmes and centres that run these courses. There will also be a wide range of pre-university and undergraduate courses, language schools, adult education centres, sports studies, art and higher education, etc.
The fair (new dates to be confirmed) will be held alongside Futura, the fair for masters and post-graduate courses that is looking to strengthen the ties between education and business with an updated Speaker’s Corner feature, with sessions where professionals from a range of sectors will share their work experiences with visitors, and a speed dating facility for students and headhunters to meet.
The options available in Education and Employment Week are competed by the third edition of the Youth Employment Fair, aimed at young people aged between 16 and 35 who are looking for work, have finished their studies or want to redirect their professional career.