Photo: Marion Gottmann at a certificate handover after a pedagogical training at a vocational school (Photo: CIM)

Vocational training in Paraguay

Marion Gottmann supports ministries, companies and schools in the introduction and implementation of the first nationwide dual vocational training course. It thus makes a significant contribution to the establishment of vocational education and training in Paraguay.

"The advantage is that I am a woman and that I come from the field of mechatronics. I'm perceived as a "role model" and I think that's a good thing." Marion Gottmann defies the prejudices and motivates young Paraguayan women and female teachers to tackle a dual training in the field of mechatronics or further education as a teacher. She leads a five-person team with which she acquires and implements projects that strengthen vocational training in the field of mechatronics and electrical engineering.

Marion Gottmann at a pedagogy workshop. "I'm perceived as a role model and I think that's a good thing."

An interview with Marion Gottmann

As an integrated expert, you are working as a head of vocational education and training at the Paraguayan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. What does your work look like in everyday life?

For years, we have been working with the Ministry of Education and GIZ Paraguay to establish the first dual vocational training in the field of mechatronics in Paraguay. To this end, I advise and accompany five vocational schools and carry out further training courses for teachers in the various regions of the country. In addition, we have established partnerships with selected companies, without which dual training according to German standards is not possible.

You are not only a consultant with experience in development cooperation, but also used to teach electronics and electromechatronics as a vocational school teacher. What experiences have you had as a woman during your career in Germany and Paraguay?

In Germany at that time, we were not many women, neither in vocational training nor at the university of applied sciences. Among some of the colleagues, we still maintain contact today and find that not much has changed. Women continue to be underrepresented in these areas, but we are initiating necessary changes. In Paraguay, our approach has a good reputation, which has spread both among young people and in the companies. As a result, we have already been able to attract more young women to the industry. I try to attract and train some of the trained mechatronics technicians as vocational school teachers, as I consider the comprehensive involvement of women in the field to be essential. It is not easy to assert oneself in the supposed male domain of mechatronics and electrical engineering. For this reason, we have developed and acquired another project that teaches young Paraguayan women specific skills on the subject of occupational safety and health so that they can take on higher-quality positions in the companies, e.g. as occupational health and safety officers.

Advice on 5S in the field of electrical engineering in a vocational school in Asuncion.

"The advantage is that I am a woman and come from the field of mechatronics. I'm perceived as a "role model" and I think that's a good thing."

What professional knowledge have you gained in Paraguay that you would like to apply in Germany?

My experience has been that our work in Paraguay allows us to respond relatively quickly and unbureaucratically to the needs and changes of the private sector. For example, it is possible to adapt the curricula in our training project more flexibly to the needs of the companies. The current Covid-19 situation has shown how quickly conditions can change. We had to react promptly and establish digital tools in schools and companies. Due to the very good ruge that Germany enjoys with regard to dual training, we are placed in great confidence in the AHK, so that we can proactively respond to new opportunities.

What distinguishes life in Paraguay in particular?

Compared to Germany, Paraguay is less hectic and life here is relatively quiet. The people are incredibly nice, the Paraguayans have twice been identified as the happiest people in the world - and you can see that. Despite the very long working hours, there are few complaints about the workload and there is generally a pleasant working atmosphere.

On behalf of

The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) is jointly run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA). Together, they have been providing development and labour market policy expertise since 1980. CIM places experts from the EU and ETFA countries in developing countries and emerging economies. Our main commissioning party is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).