Job market and adult education
When Slovakia became part of the European Union in 2004, the Slovakian-Austrian job market had certain restrictions. After the transitional provisions were lifted in 2011, the job market opened up completely. Workers are going from Slovakia to Austria and Austrian companies are opening new business locations in Slovakia. Due to the close proximity of Vienna and Bratislava, a twin city constellation that is almost unique worldwide, the economic areas and job markets overlap. Although for many this development holds great potential, others–among them employees or small and medium-sized businesses–are being driven away from the market. Consequently, there is high demand for coordination, especially in order to harmonize conditions, training models and job requirement profiles.
The project Supraregional Employment Initiative is promoting cross-border mobility for qualified skilled laborers. Take the jobtour and get an impression of prospective jobs and compare requirements and conditions in the four neighboring countries of Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Thanks to this project, employees, employment offices, educational establishments, and social partners were given the chance to share cross-border expertise.
Along with the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, it is important to take note of the legal framework. Many employees working in foreign countries may not have sufficient knowledge of the local legal situation. Some employers take advantage of this. Particularly in Austria, people originating from eastern neighboring countries are sometimes subjected to illegal working conditions. As a means to counteracting this and improving equal opportunity, labor unions have initiated legal advice services for foreign employees in Austria in the ZUWINBAT and Arbeitsmarkt+ projects. Along with direct legal help, competent authorities are being trained to counter the problems that arise faster and more efficiently.
Women today still don’t have the same opportunities in the job market as men. Especially when it is necessary to balance family and work, women are often forced into self-employment. For this reason, the REGIONFEMME project’s top priority is the funding of cross-border entrepreneurship, particularly for women. Ms. Daniela Bušinská, head of the project, says: “In our experience there are two types of women –younger women who start a business because they want to be independent and become their own boss, and women who have to set up a business – women over 40 coming back from maternity leave. It is these women in particular who we need to turn our attention to. They need to get in contact with successful entrepreneurs, learn from them, remain positive, believe in themselves, participate in programs that promote entrepreneurship, and they especially need to be surrounded by people who support them and have no interest in dissuading them from their intentions. In the early stages, this is crucial!”
Viera Brázdovičová is an example, managing the rising family business “Princess Slovakia”. Together with her husband and son, who take care of the technical side of production, she produces fashionable frames for glasses. Apart from designing the frames, Mrs. Brázdovičová takes care of the firm’s marketing. Thanks to her participation in the project REGIONGEMME, she succeeded in cooperating with Viennese opticians as well as with an Austrian company which produces special parts for CNC machines for the production of glasses.
The entrepreneur Lucia Hakelová represents another example. Thanks to the project, the interior designer found new clients in Austria. Under the trade name »luica haquel« she specializes in house and apartment renovation and has been running a successful business ever since from her new office in Hainburg an der Donau.
Yet people with a career sometimes need support too – further education offers can help them begin a new stage in their lives or careers. To this end, the Austrian Welding Center SZA initiated a supplementary certification backed by an international degree called “International Welded Structures Designer” for workers in the metal working industry. On behalf of the project SMILE, this Slovakian-Austrian training course offers information on the latest policies and thus promotes innovation potential in the development of new steel construction products. The degree can also be obtained via distance learning.
The automotive supply industry is an important economic sector in Slovakia and Austria. An internationally recognized MBA (Master of Business Administration) in automotive industries is currently being offered at the Technical University of Vienna and the Technical University of Bratislava. You can find further information on the website automotive.tuwien.ac.at .
A good education is not only needed for the daily working routine: Especially in the case of an emergency, people’s lives may depend on optimal training. Therefore, volunteer helpers in particular also need thorough training. Since catastrophes do not stop at national borders, obstacles encountered by rescue services must be reduced as much as possible: Procedures and materials are often different, information isn’t forwarded efficiently enough, and, cooperation often fails due to a language barrier. CARESS@danube collects essential information for disaster situations and ensures that the responsible authorities act jointly across borders in the case of a disaster on the Danube. Members of the fire department receive special training, which is also displayed to the public in the form of spectacular exercises.
Autism in its various forms–as yet another phenomenon that does not stop at borders–has been diagnosed more frequently in the recent years. The latest research even suggests that around 1% of the population is affected. The reason for this increase lies in a more widespread awareness of autistic conditions and better diagnostic methods. Clinics and health care centers however are often overwhelmed due to the massive increase of enquiries regarding diagnostics and treatment of autism. First, it is necessary to establish modern treatment methods, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, which is being implemented in Austria and Slovakia by the Autism Competence Exchange project. Besides development and a pilot of the required training for therapists, the aim must be to adapt the method to insurance frameworks, thus making treatment possible and affordable.
Another innovative education opportunity has been developed in the REACT project, specialising in energy consultancy for building owners, who are constructing or renovating houses.