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Hungary: helping disadvantaged students qualify for in-demand jobs

Since February 2010, a new scholarship programme aims to help students train for occupations that are facing a shortage of workers.

The lists of skill shortages are prepared by the regional development and training committees (Regionális Fejlesztési és Képzési Bizottság, RFKB) for each region. A handful of these are singled out as being in high demand all over the country (bricklayer, metal cutter, welder and joiner-rigger).

The main objective of the scholarship programme is to make the economy more competitive by offering training according to demand. As such it encourages people to qualify in jobs that are in demand but have low VET enrolment figures. In addition to bolstering their motivation for learning, the programme also helps disadvantaged young people to complete their schooling and obtain a qualification.

The scholarship programme is funded from the training sub-fund of the Labour Market Fund. A sum of EUR 7,700,000 has been earmarked for the year 2010. There is still only limited information about the results of this new programme. So far, however, the number of eligible students in the second semester of the 2009/2010 school year was 10 956, which falls short of the estimated 13-15 000.

Local VET scholarship programmes

A few local (municipal) governments have implemented their own local measures as well. In the industrial centre of Győr (Western Hungary) for instance, a similar programme had been in effect since 2008. Prospective employers may also conclude a ‘pre-contract’ with students who, upon completion of their studies, will work for the company for a period that depends on the financial support they have received from the company. Thus the allowance for vocational school students are funded from several sources: local council scholarships, the student contract, company scholarships; the national scholarship programme is now added to these resources. Altogether this support can add up to as much as the minimum wage.

The local council of Zalaegerszeg, a county capital with 60 000 people, has also developed a local scholarship scheme to support VET students. It aims to influence the decisions of students and their parents, to improve the quality and prestige of VET schools, and invite the increased involvement of business organisations and employers in VET. The local scholarship programme will be launched in September 2010.

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