“We need to build a country in which workers and work are respected; where all young people can master a useful profession or obtain a useful degree,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Monday.
“This is our goal; this is why we signed an agreement with the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and this is why we will sign another agreement with them for the coming four years as well,” Orbán said at the opening ceremony of a festival for students in vocational training programmes.
Addressing the students present at the ceremony, the prime minister said:
“Let’s build together the Hungary to which one can always return.”
“Hungarians have always had to fight for everything: their own professionals, their youth and even their future,” Orbán said.
Today, Europe is “put together in a way” that allows richer countries “with luckier histories” to “drain” other countries of their skilled young talent, Orbán said. “Employers in other countries also have their sights set on you,” he told the students present.
Orbán said there were two ways Hungary could respond to the brain drain of its young professionals.
“On the one hand, we can be proud that Hungary’s youth can hold their own anywhere in the world,” he said. “On the other hand, we can build a Hungary where young people have access to jobs, respectable wages, safety and the opportunity to create their own family homes.” In the most recent parliamentary election, Hungarians said that “Hungary should remain Hungarian”, the prime minister added.
Eventually, all countries become like their youth, Orbán said. “And we, Hungarians want a competitive country that can compete successfully anywhere on the world stage.” He said producing young people whose knowledge is competitive on the market was in Hungary’s national interest.
Head of the Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce László Parragh said that 43 professions are represented at this year’s festival. When it was first organised 11 years ago, that number was 15, he said.
Fully 67 percent of the companies in Hungary say there is a shortage of skilled workers,
he said, adding that the “force to help the nation prosper should be strengthened.” Vocational students doing well in national competitions should have access to higher education, he said.