Vocational training is key to attracting young people to the Armed Forces

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The Minister of National Defense maintained today that qualification and professional training are “primary factors” to attract young people to the military career, recognizing that the sector faces “complex challenges”, in particular in retaining these professionals.

“Let there be no doubt: the prospect of acquiring specialized and recognized skills in the labor market – combined with pride and a sense of duty in serving the country – are important motivational tools for our young people,” said Helena Carreiras at the signing ceremony of a cooperation protocol between the Directorate-General for National Defense Resources and the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), in Alverca.

This protocol aims to complete the alignment of the training provided by the Armed Forces with the National Qualifications System (SNQ), develops initial and continuous training actions between Defense entities and the IEFP and seeks to certify the volunteer schemes in the Armed Forces as a professional internship.

In her speech, Helena Carreiras said that the Government has set “the continuous goal of recruiting qualified and motivated candidates for the Armed Forces”, stressing that the “competitiveness of the civilian labor market” requires a “strategic approach” to be able to attract young people to a military career.

“Training and professional qualification are key factors in arousing the interest and confidence of potential candidates for military service,” he said.

The minister argued that the alignment of the training provided by the Armed Forces with the SNQ, allows “to properly value military service, the military career and the military”, being not only “an important motivating factor, but also promotes the retention” of professionals.

“The official recognition of skills, combined with the transparency and comparability of qualifications, provides a solid and attractive perspective for the development of an effective career during military service,” he argued.

Helena Carreiras admitted that the Defense sector faces “complex challenges”, in particular with regard to “attracting and retaining qualified young people, constantly updating knowledge and skills, as well as harmonizing training processes between the various Defense entities and the SNQ”.

In this context, the minister maintained that “the alignment of the training provided by the different entities of National Defense can and should be a fundamental pillar for the professionalization of military service”.

It was with this objective, continued the minister, that in April the Government promoted the revision of the Action Plan for the Professionalization of Military Service or that, last week, approved the strategy for the alignment of National Defense qualifications for the period 2023-2025.

“If we can ensure strengthened operational capabilities, highly qualified professionals and attractive recruitment, we will be better prepared to ensure the country’s security and defense, and to make our joint contribution to Portugal’s development,” he concluded.

For his part, the Secretary of State for Labor, Miguel Fontes, stressed that the military of the Armed Forces who want to go to the labor market are in a “particularly privileged situation”, because employers recognize them several ‘soft skills’, such as “obeying a line of command, realizing the importance of planning or knowing how to adapt to new circumstances”.

Despite this, Miguel Fontes stressed that, in addition to these ‘soft skills’, it is also necessary to combine “more technical skills” to value the military who want to enter the labor market, which is why he considered the protocol signed today with IEFP important.

“There is no employer who would not want to add an ex-military person to their technical training as a guarantee of being an excellent resource that they will need to employ,” he stressed.

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