“The Government will be providing 35 billion forints (EUR 108 million) in funding for the development of education and training relating to automotive industry development projects in Debrecen; the related proposal will be put before the Cabinet next week”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said at a press conference at the city’s town hall on Friday.

According to the Minister, some 20 billion forints (EUR 62 million) of this sum will be spent on the development of Debrecen University’s technology department and related fields of education, including the launching of a vehicle engineer course.

“7.3 billion forints (EUR 22.5 million) have been earmarked for the development of vocational training and the training of technicians, in addition to which secondary schools that teach in German and in the languages of neighbouring countries will also be established in Debrecen, the latter to teach young people who arrive from across the border but do not speak Hungarian”, Mr. Palkovics indicated.

The Minister said one of the important goals of the Hungarian economy is to assure that economic growth remains at least two percent higher than the European Union average. “Vehicle production is the flagship sector of the economy, providing 25 percent of total industrial output”, he added, pointing out that Debrecen will be one of the new participants in the sector with the construction of the BMW car plant.

With relation to the investment, he said that BMW is building a next generation factory in Hungary with a new product portfolio and a flexible manufacturing environment. The government commission established to coordinate tasks relating to the investment project, which the Minister chairs, is working continuously, and following the previously adopted 130-billion-forint (EUR 403 million) infrastructure development programme, the Ministry has now drawn up this 35-billion-forint education package, he added.

“In line with private sector demand, the vocational training system is being reorganised from the existing supply-orientated system to a training system that is driven by demand, and from September, in accordance with the vocational training strategy already adopted by the Government, five-year technician courses will be launched at several higher education institutions. The course content will be determined together with enterprises”, Mr. Palkovics said.

After viewing the future site of the factory with the Minister and the leaders of the BMW project, Mayor of Debrecen László Papp said the work was progressing according to schedule and around 15-20 percent of the some 500 hectare plot has been prepared for the plant’s construction.

“Over 250 vehicles and pieces of machinery are working continuously at the site, draining and ground stabilising work will soon begin, and the area of land required for the construction of the plant will be officially presented to the investors this autumn”, the Mayor told reporters.

Mr. Papp indicated that there are currently 72 thousand students studying in Debrecen, and the goal is for this number to increase to one hundred thousand by the 2040s, ensuring a supply of highly trained workers in the city.

Rector of Debrecen University Zoltán Szilvássy highlighted that at the institution, automotive industry training built on the university’s strong natural sciences background includes the training of automotive industry, railway and aeronautical engineers, and the university will soon also be launching a space research programme.

With relation to the latter, the Rector said a so-called irridation detector station will be established in the former solar physics observatory in the university’s botanical gardens, in the interests of measuring and analysing various radiations arriving from space.