From the 2020/2021 academic year, students will be able to start their studies in a new vocational training system that will greatly change the course of creative industry training.
We had a conversation with Mr. Tamás Kovács, one of the largest vocational trainers in Pécs, about the extent to which the new vocational training system will change the lives of students and teachers.
Tamás Kovács is a photographer and photo product trader, he has been dealing with photography continuously since 2008, then in 2015 he obtained a master’s degree in his profession. He has been teaching since 2010, during which time more than 100 graduates have come out of his hands. In 2020, he achieved CLOCK qualification as Creative Industry Sector Expert (level SCQF 11, Vocational Master).
In terms of vocational education, we can basically talk about two branches: school-based training and adult education. There are significant differences between the two possible education systems, Mr. Kovács is experienced and employed in both sectors. As an educator, he highlights several differences that affect not only students but him as a teacher personally.
First of all, it is important to mention that in school-based training, 2 years are compulsory for full studies, and these are mostly trainings that are free of charge if the student does not already have two existing professions. In contrast, adult education differs in that the duration of their education lasts only 6-8 months, and these take place in a fee-paying form. Related to this, Mr. Kovács points out that huge differences can also be discovered in the attitudes of students: those who participate in school-based training are much less motivated than those who complete their VET in adult education due to their own motivation.
In Hungary, the entire vocational education system is undergoing changes. The decrees issued in August have not yet been fully clarified, however, Mr. Kovács says that all external and internal participants have high hopes that the changes will work in practice. The first and most important such change is that he, as a photographer, will not be able to take students into his internship until February 2021, as his students will have to attend a compulsory half-year theoretical education at the beginning of their vocational training. This will be a sectoral training in which all students in the creative industries will acquire a general theoretical knowledge, after which they will be able to choose a specialization. Until now, there has been no such theoretical exam in vocational education, so everyone could start their specialized work and internship immediately. After the exam, trainees can continue their studies in dual training places, such as at Mr. Kovács’.
In addition to the course of the trainings, changes are also made to the budget, starting with the formalities. From this academic year, it will not be enough to sign an internship contract with students. From now on, they can only take part in their apprenticeship by signing a vocational training employment contract. As this is an employment contract, trainers are required to pay their students even if their employee does not yet have any prior knowledge. In sum, this means that a minimum of 60% of the professional minimum wage must be paid, which can be increased according to the success of their studies.
All in all, it can be said that there are still question marks in the new system, and the instructors themselves do not fully see the events of the next period, but we can say with certainty that the vocational education system in Hungary is undergoing a change and we do not yet have information on practical implementation.