Arania has been working for several years to attract young talent through different programmes in partnership with institutions and training centres. Students with an industrial vocation are needed, especially women. Companies are facing severe difficulties when recruiting specialised technicians for the industrial sector, and the steel transformation industry is not immune to this issue. Now, the goal is to foster vocation and to make students realise that vocational training is much more than what it seems at first glance: the future of industry is at stake.
Industry and youth share a common destiny: they represent the future of economic and social development. For years, the goal set by governments and institutions was that by 2020 Spain would have a 20% GDP contribution from the industrial sector. Leaving the pandemic aside, industry’s total contribution to GDP was limited to 14.86% in 2020, including energy. We all know that industry represents the future. So why do companies struggle to find professionals with industrial vocation? Why do young people prefer other careers even though they know the irreplaceable value of industry?
Quite often, students experience a clash in their expectations when they join a company, mostly due to a lack of knowledge of the skills and behavioural patterns that future workers are expected to have, and also because they have not received the required orientation towards the results they will be demanded to achieve. Arania’s objective is to reverse this trend, making the rolled steel industry accessible to young people through different programmes in collaboration with different institutions, training centres and business associations.
The rolled steel industry is not willing to discard the finest professionals. Juan Ramis, manager at Arania, highlights the need for generational change, which is crucial to undertake the transformation of this sector in terms of efficiency and sustainability. “Students are the future. The major shifts we need to achieve in the next 15 or 20 years must be driven by young talent, they are the ones called upon to lead these changes.”
The aim is to promote vocations by showing students that vocational training and industrial occupations offer much more than they might think at first glance. In other words, we must move away from the traditional idea of the dark and noisy factory and develop key areas for the future such as digitalisation, the application of new technologies in industry, the possibility of professional growth at the heart of cutting-edge industries and companies…
Projects such as #IndustriaErronka, Industry Day, or Arania’s visit programmes to the factory are just some examples seeking to transfer the industrial environment to higher education centres, in order to foster the skills that will be most demanded in the future. Above all, the goal is to raise awareness of the key role that new generations will play in the future of the industry, especially in activities requiring constant renewal such as the rolled steel sector.
Through these initiatives, Arania intends to play a key role in the attraction of talent to the rolled steel industry, and more specifically with regard to recruiting female talent and women with STEM profiles (education combining science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to this industry, where technical occupations have historically been associated with the male gender. Arania has been working for years to reverse this trend, particularly through its commitment to vocational training, which is the best tool for building an equal and forward-looking industrial ecosystem, indispensable for further growth and to ensure the long-term future of the whole steel industry.
The main reason for this lack of vocation is that students continue to choose secondary education as their main option, in contrast to other European countries where vocational training plays a greater role than in Spain. Despite the good intentions and efforts of the administrations to raise awareness of the usefulness of dual vocational training, both among companies and young people, the number of students currently attending this type of programmes, although on the rise, is still very modest.
For any industrial company operating in a key sector such as steel processing, dual vocational training represents a major instrument to ensure the future sustainability of several highly specialised activities. Therefore, most companies believe that vocational training should be more oriented towards practical experience and the requirements of industry. In spite of the current wide offer, it should broaden specialisations and qualifications. The different programmes and educational experiences carried out have proved that the advantages of dual training outweigh the costs for companies when it comes to implementing this training format, an asset that must be further developed in the long term.