This article is part of ‘JA Europe’ Knowledge Network
Given the recent launch of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the topic of desirable skills for employability as well as the role of vocational education in skills development and job creation has become more and more important in Brussels. Progress is still needed to address the skills mismatch and Europe’s competitiveness; calling for increased partnerships between education and business.
Initiatives exist, but need to broaden their reach and scope. Since the start of Skills for the Future in 2012, the partnership between JA Europe and Hyundai Motor Europe has engaged over 15,000 students, mentored and supported by Hyundai Motor volunteers and teachers. Through their JA mini-company experience, students (from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom) develop their own products and services related to the automotive industry fitting to a sustainable mindset, and follow the full lifecycle of a company.
The European finale of the 2016 edition of the Hyundai Skills for the Future Award took place in Madrid on 1-2 June, where more than 75 students from 15 European countries competed and showcased their entrepreneurial achievements, linked to the theme of sustainability.
Based in Madrid (Spain), Cesar Molina Sanchez and Hector Pascual Martinez from the CIFP created AMECS and won both the judges’ votes and the audience award in the European Finale. The jury panel praised their innovative system that can cool or heat a car cabin without consuming fuel. Judges said the system, controlled by a smartphone app, shows a new and efficient way to tackle an everyday issue for drivers in hot and cold climates. They were also impressed by AMECS’s financial model and socially-sensitive business model.
The winning duo shared their views on the experience, saying: “Thanks to Skills for the Future, we made our dream come true. We always wanted to work for the automotive industry and this project is leading us to new adventures in the sector. We are also delighted to see that other participants as well as Hyundai employees from Madrid elected us as the best mini company too. Winning both the audience and jury awards gives us more confidence as regards our future endeavours. We look forward to visit the offices of Hyundai Motor Europe in Frankfurt, a city dedicated to innovation and performance.”
Thomas A. Schmid, Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented: “The automotive industry is constantly looking for talented, skilled employees, so our Skills for the Future initiative aims to build up young people’s competences in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. In this year’s Award programme, we have seen great potential among the finalists. Congratulations to all participants, especially AMECS who earned the judges’ votes for their innovative and sustainable approach to an issue that affects all car owners in Europe.”
Caroline Jenner, JA Europe’s CEO concluded: “Millennials think differently about cars and mobility in general. In Skills for the Future, experienced professionals interact with young people, encouraging them to use their ingenuity and creativity to tackle some of the industry’s biggest challenges. It’s not about what’s now, it’s about what’s next.”