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Presidents of Slovenia and Germany express their support for young people and highlight education as the key to further development

Nova Gorica, 26. 11. 2014 | press release

This morning, Slovenian President Borut Pahor and German Federal President Joachim Gauck visited the Inter-Company Training Centre of the School Centre in Nova Gorica, where they were greeted by Matej Arčon, Mayor of Nova Gorica, Egon Pipan, Director of the Nova Gorica School Centre, and Adrijana Hodak, Head of the School Centre. The Inter-Company Training Centre in Nova Gorica presented the good practices of the Slovenian education and development system to German President Gauck. The Presidents of Slovenia and Germany then discussed with the students the importance of knowledge for the future.

The Inter-Company Training Centre in Nova Gorica is an outstanding example of cooperation between education and the business sector, and the two presidents pointed out that a successful career and employment is not provided only by university education, but also by vocational education.

In his talks with the students of the Centre, President Gauck said that some students do not wish to continue their studies because they can obtain the necessary qualifications and knowledge for work without the academic title. They become masters in their profession, earn good salaries and gain social security, as well as standing and social recognition. "The less young people know, the poorer their labour market prospects are," the German President pointed out, and he expressed great satisfaction about how committed the responsible bodies and teachers in Slovenia are to young people, who are faced with high unemployment throughout Europe. He expressed his enthusiasm at having such knowledge centres set up in part through European funding, and called for an intensive exchange of young people in the education process, working practices, etc., between the two countries. Mr. Gauck added that Germany must also recognise flexibility in terms of education and reflect on the different education systems in particular German regions, pointing out that Slovenia has a basis because companies provide young people with apprenticeships and practical training.

Presidents of Slovenia and Germany express their support for young people and highlight education as the key to further development
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

In a press release, President Pahor said that it was no coincidence that he had brought his German counterpart to the Inter-Company Training Centre. “I did this for two reasons, because I know that President Gauck is also interested in the problems of young people and that he pays great attention to them. At the same time, in the young generation, in the efforts of their teachers and in the encouragement provided by parents, Slovenia finds great self-confidence, ambition, and in particular an awareness that not everybody needs to graduate from a university in order to have a respected profession that will provide him with social security, a good living and the capacity to support his family, but can also gain the necessary knowledge through practical skills at lower levels of education, which will allow him to face the future confidently in the rapidly changing conditions of the 21st century. In Slovenia, there has been a significant shift in values, because those who have completed lower levels of education and have a suitable profession are once again becoming respected and properly recognised in society. They are needed very much if Slovenia is to have a competitive economy. They have also proved themselves at the European and global levels in the international vocational skills training competition called WorldSkills International in France, where they have just recently achieved excellent results. Young people are proud of their achievements, they are self-confident and this is very important for Slovenia’s future,” President Pahor added.

The Presidents of Slovenia and Germany also toured Nova Gorica and visited Kostanjevica, the local Franciscan monastery. In the park below the monastery, the two presidents unveiled a symbolic memorial called the "bench of peace and integration in Europe". In the monastery of Kostanjevica, where they were welcomed by the guardian Father Marjan Čuk, Director of the France Bevk Library of Nova Gorica, Irena Skvarč, and the head of visits to the monastery, Mirjam Brecelj, they visited the library and exchanged gifts.

At the Pipistrel company, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and also won a European award for innovation, Mr. Pahor and Mr. Gauck toured the manufacturing line for small electric planes. According to the company’s founder and managing director Ivo Boscarol, the company is becoming increasingly global, since over 1,300 Pipistrel small planes are flying the skies in 85 countries around the world. The company, which will continue to expand in the coming years and has high-reaching and innovative goals, provides a livelihood for as many as 150 Slovenian families. According to managing director Boscarol, the company will continue its efforts to maintain its leading position in the high-tech manufacturing of ultralight aircraft and auxiliary-engine gliders, to obtain a similar leadership position in the development of alternative air propulsion sources and environmentally friendly air drives, and to become an internationally recognised aviation research and development institute.