A perfect gateway for young people to have a profession
A perfect gateway for young people to have a profession
By MEHMET AKSEL / Diken / 31 December 2020
‘Education’, in all fields and ages, is the greatest achievement of a country. In Turkey, unfortunately, it’s often seen as ‘the last resort.’
When we focus on ‘vocational training’, it is, all around the world, one of the two gateways for high school graduates, along with a university degree. In Turkey, however, vocational training is associated both by parents and young people, with ‘lower quality education‘, ‘blue collar jobs‘ and ‘people with no skills‘. Furthermore, it is ‘no remedy for mandatory military service’, as university graduates are able to opt for short term military service, whereas vocational school graduates are not.
Let me be more precise:
* Vocational training in Turkey is both inadequate and poor in quality. Operating in outdated and make-shift buildings that are poorly built with inadequate infrastructure and insufficient, educational capacity, both in context and staff, and with no site benefits, vocational schools serve only to discourage students.
* In Turkey, vocational training has no value or meaning in the eyes of the student, more so for the parents. Unfortunately, it is perceived as worthless or a ‘low quality diploma‘, affecting the decision making process of the student in a negative way, who otherwise would very well be willing to attend such a school.
As for the fact that this type of training does not solve the issue of the mandatory military service in Turkey, it reminds me of a local saying: ‘It’s like a cow whose milk is sour, so if you butcher the animal, its meat will be inedible as well.’
* No matter how often the importance of ‘matching the industry with vocational training’, is emphasized, it never gets beyond wishful thinking in Turkey. A wish (sad to say) that seldom comes true. Apart from a few unfruitful sectors and factories, this assertion is mostly lip service.
* Private sector, seemingly smarter, undervalues vocational training as well. Perhaps, this is a deliberate and well-disguised consensus.
Some industries might be deliberately aiming to keep vocational training ‘poor quality and low cost’, deeming it as a base for cheap labor force of which they benefit by reducing cost.
But they fail to realize that a well-trained professional employee will cost them less down the road than a ‘pure novice.’
*The teaching staff in vocational education are either too ‘academic’ to inspire the students, or, unfortunately, ‘have not racked up the miles.’ So disconnected from the real life, they’ve neither got any field experience nor a piece of work worth mentioning.
When exposed to probing questions, they either further curb the students’ already flimsy enthusiasm with their narrow-mindedness, or make use of their own failings to tell them about the keys to success. Vision? Not a chance!
That’s the situation…
But if we do think a little smarter…
We have a solution at hand for this so called new and young generation who hates to linger around and expects fast results.
In a world in which there is no ‘no time to waste’, a ‘next generation vocational training model‘, with a smart setup and flawless content, can present the perfect opportunity for today’s generation of young people that we still struggle to understand.
Not to mention the joy of having a job you love.
On the other side of the coin there are those industries that need employees equipped with the necessary set of skills. In my opinion, with the aforementioned model, a structure can be created, which would hugely help the industries to close the ‘skills gap.’
Look, I’m not just spouting clichés, such as ‘build on what you already have‘ or ‘follow the models you see abroad‘. What I have in mind is totally different.
My dream is a unique model, seen nowhere else in the world, and we’re thrilled to have achieved this at MSA.
Please, just think for a minute…
We’ve created a system, which the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) has labeled as the Culinary School with the Highest Quality of Culinary Education in the World.
We run a school ‘applicable to all professions‘, which has been identified by one of its accreditors (I can even say the most respected one worldwide), as the Most Excellent Vocational Training Center among nearly 5,000 vocational schools under its accreditation.
We built an educational institution whose up to 20 thousand graduates, hundreds of students, and even interns have a steadily increasing rate of finding a local and global job opportunity and receiving a job offer.
It is an educational institution so successful that there are businesses founded by MSA graduates or businesses that employ only MSA graduates, both in Turkey and abroad.
This is the kind of system, the kind of school I am talking about.
These are the achievements of its education model. What about the sentimental bonds?
*Students have gotten tattoos of its logo.
*There have even been funny cases of people stealing MSA outfits in order to pose as a ‘MSA graduate‘ while applying for a job.
*Its operational model has been considered as a case study for a real ‘Lovemark‘ by universities.
What I am trying to say is this can be done. As long as you want to do it and as long as the path is open.
Why not replicate this model?
Here are my suggestions:
*Establish a moderate number of pilot schools with a special focus on up to date professions.
For example, there’s a real critical need right now for ‘drone‘ pilots, right? Or, veterinary assistants for that matter? What about bicycle/motorcycle mechanics?
I can give dozens of examples of professions that are important both for today and the near future (I am hoping that you don’t think people need a university degree for these professions, do you?).
* And of course, do your best to attract the attention of the investors and the industry to the success stories of these pilot schools and their graduates. Encourage the investors and industry leaders to help grow vocational training.
Ok, so what would these pilot schools be like?
Here is the magic formula:
*They must be private.
*Their diplomas must be of international value and accreditation.
*Their infrastructures must be much much better than their counterparts.
*There must be assurances that these schools will not be forced to compromise their quality and principles under any circumstances.
*The instructors must be well-educated, insightful, experienced and able to speak different languages. They must have received a trainer’s training beforehand and must be able to not only train their students, but also to measure and report precisely how much they have received and understood.
*These schools must be mercilessly audited by international institutions.
*Their facilities and opportunities must be very very strong and display great diversity. – Role models must always be present in the premises.
*These schools must offer special payment and accommodation opportunities to prospective students.
*And of course, they must inject the gusto of the profession to their students, generating people who ‘love their profession, love life and living.’
This is the story.
The last time I checked, the unemployment rate in Turkey was 12.7 percent Let’s ask if the 87.3 percent are truly satisfied with their careers and their lives…
MSA – Founder and CEO
Born in 1968 in Istanbul, Mehmet Aksel started his career in the automotive industry.
After seven years, his passion evolved into a new direction when he took interest in the F&B industry. He was the restaurateur of three restaurants in Istanbul two of which were partnered with one of Turkey’s leading gastronomy experts, Tuğrul Şavkay.
His experience in the F&B industry led him to observe the massive need for trained personnel. Hence he founded MSA in 2004.
Ever since MSA has trained 20,000 students. The graduates have a job placement rate of over 95 percent. 15-20 percent have found jobs in various countries.
MSA was awarded ‘Culinary School with Highest Quality of Culinary Education in the World’ by the World Chefs Association (WACS) in 2011, ‘The Most Excellent Vocational Training Center in the World’ in 2012 by the Royal Academy of Vocational Education (City & Guilds). Currently it is regarded one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the global arena.
On a different note, MSA campus is the reflection of Aksel’s other passion as a collector and is cited as one of the most exquisite food & beverage museums and culinary arts libraries in the world.
In 2010, Aksel received the ‘Entrepreneur Of The Year’ award by the International Endeavor Entrepreneurship Network.
He is also known for his keynote speeches and projects to raise awareness for vocational education and to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit for the young people in Turkey.
Professional sports is the most delightful part of his personal life.
He has participated in equestrian sports since the age of four.He has been riding for more than 40 years, and competed for the Equestrian National Team for more than 10 years. He has won many championships and is also the winner of the 1986 ‘Balkan Championship’ and ‘Athlete of the Year’ awards.
Furthermore, following his passion for cars, between 1992 and 2005, he participated in automobile racing, and has gained many successes with awards and trophies both in Turkey and abroad.
Aksel has been married for 17 years and has two daughters.