Tecuni: Training future talent

The Somorrostro Training Centre has 70 years of history and roughly 2,000 students are enrolled


Why does a company like Tecuni propose technical challenges to the students at the Somorrostro Vocational Training Centre in Bizkaia? Answering this question reveals i) new business strategies to attract talent, not only among top graduates but at the intermediate and operator levels, and ii) a new training model for the technical professionals of today, not tomorrow. The Somorrostro Training Centre has 70 years of history and roughly 2,000 students are enrolled. Among them, slightly less than 1,200 study Vocational Training in 14 advanced, 9 intermediate, and 4 basic cycles. The seven buildings on campus consist of more than 60 technical classrooms and workshops, the majority of which have been renovated this year to correspond to the methodological change underway in VT in the Basque Country to the ethazi collaborative learning method based on challenges. These challenges become even more interesting when proposed by a collaborating company, in this case Tecuni, because the group with the best solution then makes it a reality at the company itself.

According to Tamara Yagüe, General Manager of Tecuni, “The mutual benefit is clear. The students become familiar with the business world and the company receives new, fresh and innovative ideas.” Javier Laiseca, director of the Somorrostro Centre explains what the challenges mean to students, “A complete change of methodology. The teacher is no longer the conveyor of knowledge, rather the students are protagonists in the learning process.” Sabin Anuzita, the head liaison between Tecuni and the Centre, points out that it is very positive for the company “to be in touch with young people, with what youth brings, as well as with another perspective, that of the teachers.”

The challenge of the last course consisted of making a remote system for detecting public lighting outages, while this year’s challenge was to create an expert system that allows for programming the intensity of urban lighting based on parameters like the phases of the moon, weather, and traffic to achieve maximum energy efficiency. To realise these projects, electricity and computer science students worked together, which improves their training because, as Aitor Fernández, professor of Electricity, Electronics, and Automation explains, “We not only work on technical aspects, but transverse aspects as well: teamwork and collaboration add value to traditional classroom training and projects assigned by professors.”

Paula González, Omar López del Río and Ánder González formed this year’s winning team. As Paula explains, “Being at Tecuni while developing the challenge helps motivate us. There’s a difference between a case that could be applied to reality and a company asking you for it and it being truly worth something. It’s different from something they assign in class that’s more abstract.”

As Vanesa Moreno, professor of Data Access in Advanced Multiplatform Development and Applications, remarks, “This teaching model, intertwined with the company, is ideal for students because it gives them something that neither I nor education can give them.”

The teachers agree that this is a better way to prepare students for the future job market. “This training model,” asserts Javier Laiseca, “if not ideal, is—I believe—the only one that has a future. I can’t imagine a vocational training school that is not linked to a company facing challenges and tackling projects.”

For Sabin Anuzita, it can be said, “To use a football simile, Somorrostro is and will continue to be a talent pool for Tecuni.” And as Tamara Yagüe explains, “It is very important for us to attract talent, not only at the engineering level, but in intermediate, positions and among technicians and operators. Our added value is the service we provide and we seek the best professionals at all levels.” Not only are there future professionals at Somorrostro, but Tecuni is contributing decisively to their training.

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