Can you export Germany’s renowned dual system to developing economies like Mexico? This case study is the focal point of a paper written by Judith Wiemann and Martina Fuchs and published by the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, which looks at and analyses the export of Germany’s dual vocational system to Mexico. Let’s see how it went.
Despite the distance between the economic and educational systems of Berlin and Mexico City, in 2015 the Mexican government decided to invest in a dual technical and vocational system that combines work and school, similar to the system in place in Germany. While the German system gives companies, trade associations and chambers of commerce the opportunity to determine the content of practice-oriented training, a different model has been developed in Mexico. First and foremost, training content is defined by the state and not by companies. Educational qualifications awarded are the same as traditional training courses, and a second certificate that proves the technical skills of the apprentice is provided. In addition, apprentices are given a grant of around 100 U.S. dollars a month, instead of receiving a salary from the company.
While the German system gives companies, trade associations and chambers of commerce the opportunity to determine the content of practice-oriented training, training content is defined by the state in Mexico.
But the most significant difference when compared to the existing system in Germany (according to an article by Adapt) is that Berlin has a robust representation system for apprentices. They are supported by trade unions in the event that a company is not providing an adequate learning experience. In Mexico, however, this representation does not exist. And there’s something new as well. In line with the institutional dual-learning system, another system has been developed in which the main players are subsidiaries of multinational companies. These have established their own training programs because they aren't satisfied with candidates that have graduated from schools offering vocational training and education. Cooperating with local schools has enabled internal training systems to be created within these multinational companies.
What’s missing when compared to Germany? A healthy rapport between participants in different areas
However, the system for implementing dual training in Mexico hasn’t taken off yet. What’s missing when compared to Germany? One thing above all else: A healthy rapport between all participants in different areas, which is the secret behind the German system’s success. The centralised governmental approach in Mexico is not enough without a strong relationship with local economic institutions and schools. Similarly, individual initiatives of multinational companies are often one-offs that do not involve either social partners or regional authorities, and this is key to Germany’s dual system working well.
Essentially, the climate does not allow for an effective dual system. Passing laws isn’t enough, nor are investments in infrastructure and equipment. To kick start healthy dialogue between schools and companies and create work, a genuine development strategy focused on local areas is needed. This starts with social partners engaging in dialogue and collaborative efforts. Vision without division…Something we should learn in Italy too.