On 4 July 2018, two internal workshops of the social partners took place in San José, Costa Rica, which were jointly carried out by the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the bfw - Unternehmen für Bildung, in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministries of Education within the framework of the Unions4VET project.
Representatives of trade unions, employers' associations, chambers and ministries from Costa Rica and Germany participated. In addition, discussions on the situation and development of vocational education and training in Costa Rica were held with Costa Rican trade unions, the Ministry of Education (MEP) and GOVET, the German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training. Since the visit within the framework of the Unions4VET project in January 2018, there have been some positive developments at the Round Table "Social Dialogue on VET", which consists of representatives of the social partners. However, there is still a dissent concerning the issues of contract drafting, financing of apprenticeship and social security as for the legal status of the apprentices.
Tripartites Forum with Édgar Mora, Minister of Education, on the role of social partners in vocational education and Training
Afterwards the tripartite forum took place on 5 July 2018 with the participation of the social partners and representatives of the government. The German Embassy in Costa Rica, representatives of the DGB and from the employers' side Gesamtmetall and the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce took part.
Édgar Mora, Minister of Education, underlined the importance of vocational education and training for the development of the country and for the future prospects of young people. He reaffirmed that young people who are dual trained in companies must receive a salary and be insured. This is a change of position with the previous government.
The basic principles of vocational education and training were presented in a speech by German Ambassador Ingo Winkelmann. The apprenticeship at the hotel "The Westin Golf Resort & Spa" in Playa Conchal, was presented as an example of good practice. In this company, young people receive vocational training in various areas with trainee status, remuneration and social insurance.
Alvaro Ramirez-Bogantes from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Fanny Sequeira from the education union SEC reported on the status of the discussion at the round table "Social dialogue on VET". There is consensus on many points, however there is still disagreement on the question of the legal status of the trainee. While for employers the apprentices are subject to civil law as students, the trade unions demand recognition of the relationship under labour law, including the conclusion of a VET contract.
In a panel discussion, the position of the German social partners drew considerable positive attention, particularly the fact that employers see VET as an investment in the future and therefore also conclude a training contract which, among other things, provides for remuneration for apprentices. The Costa Rican side is interested in maintaining the cooperation with Germany.
Numerous bilateral meetings took place in order to prepare and deepen transnational cooperation and to understand the functioning and advantages of VET. Of particular importance was the meeting with the Minister of Public Education and the Minister of Labour and Social Security, who were newly appointed in May 2018.
Please download the agenda here.
After the visit to Costa Rica at the beginning of July, an informational trip of Costa Rican trade unionists and a vocational education and training expert took place in Germany from 9 to 15 July 2018. Together with the Union for Education and Science (GEW) discussions were held and visits to various vocational training companies took place. Finally, the delegation participated in the final conference of the Unions4VET project in Berlin and introduced its perspective to the event.
The unions involved in the delegation were the education union SEC and the two umbrella organisations CTRN and CMTC.
Study visit and workshop, 10th – 16th January 2018
The former Federal Education Minister, Johanna Wanka, signed a joint declaration of intent with Costa Rica’s Education Ministry (MEP) in 2016. She thus created the basis for collaboration in vocational education and training.
The Unions4VET project has been engaged in this context since 2017 and contributes trade union perspectives to the bilateral teamwork. The aim is to improve the quality of vocational education and training and to involve the trade unions in the VET system to a greater extent.
During a visit to Costa Rica by Unions4VET in January 2018, a joint workshop was held with the International Labour Organisation (ILO/OIT). Various undertakings were also inspected that are engaged in training. Meanwhile, meetings were held with representatives of the MEP, the National Training Institute (INA), the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, the German Chamber of Foreign Trade, the German Embassy, trade unions and employer organisations, in order to achieve an all-encompassing exchange of views on the vocational education and training system in Costa Rica.
Representatives of various trade unions discussed the situation of vocational education and training at the workshop. Current developments and challenges existing in the country were debated. In conclusion, joint requirements and opportunities were formulated to implement a good system of vocational education and training from a trade union viewpoint in Costa Rica. A good impression of the training practice in Costa Rica was able to be obtained during visits to a training hotel, a garage and a bodywork which teach practical contents to students.
Please download the detailed report here.