Mexico Skilled Labor May Fill Skilled Labor Vacuum in North America

While other countries struggle with providing skilled labor to meet the rising demands of global industry Mexico skilled labor is on the rise. Mexico has taken proactive measures to train their youth to fill skilled roles in the workforce. Mexican vocational training has been a focus for over two decades. Funded by both public and private sectors, and drawing on the German model, these training programs combine classroom learning with on-the-job experience. And as a result, Mexico is uniquely suited for the labor demands of a manufacturing economy.

Mexican Vocational Training Initiative

In the interest of keeping pace with the many advances of global industry, Mexico has placed an emphasis on Vocational, Educational, Technological know as the (VET) program. The Latin American country has implemented programs based on European models, most notably the German practice of integrating hands-on experience in the form of an apprenticeship with classroom training. Students are able to apply their knowledge in real time as they develop skills and foster business relationships.

This dual-vocational initiative for advancing Mexico skilled labor availability began over two decades ago with implementation of their Technical Education and Training Modernization Project. The Mexican government has aggressively pursued the following objectives for its VET initiative:

  • Improving quality and relevance of secondary education
  • Encouraging science and technology training
  • Making upper secondary education more accessible, relevant, and mandatory
  • Introducing a qualifications framework to more closely align training with the needs of the labor market
  • Fostering the development of qualifications based on labor competence technical standards.

The VET program has been a huge success in improving Mexican vocational training. Some of the most notable accomplishments include:

  • 52 institutions have been granted authority to evaluate and certify competencies.
  • The Occupational Competency Standardization and Certification Council now issues approximately 60,000 certificates per year on average.
  • Approximately 140 competency management committees have been formed across such fields as construction, automotive, tourism, and renewable energy.

Private Sector Driven

The government has led the charge to push Mexican vocational training, but the private sector is also very active in these programs. One such program is led by Bendix, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, a German braking-systems manufacturing leader. The company recently launched a vocational training program that provides 12 courses in light manufacturing to 240 young people annually. Students study for one or two months at the Bendix campus with four days each week devoted to classroom training and one devoted to hands-on job experience. And then Bendix has the choice of hiring up to 80% of the graduates. The program teaches students occupational safety, quality, metrology, lean manufacturing, problem-solving tools, leadership, and teamwork.

Another such program is the Volkswagen Group Academy, which covers the costs of the three-year training, including meals and transportation, for each student and then guarantees employment with VW or one of its suppliers. The best trainee of each class is awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany. Mexican vocational training courses like this one are becoming more and more common in recent years, but the Volkswagen Group Academy has been in operation since 1966 and has awarded vocational training certificates to over 5,600 young people over the years.

All over the country, with the help of Germany and German-based models, Mexican vocational training is modernizing the country’s workforce and transforming Mexico’s labor pool into one of the most technologically advanced in Latin America. With continued emphasis on skilled labor, Mexico will become an increasingly competitive source of sophisticated manufacturing labor for producers worldwide.

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