Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s address at the opening ceremony of the 10th Szakma Sztár Festival
Budapest, 24 April 2017
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to welcome the President of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, our foreign guests, visitors, students, instructors and teachers. First of all, allow me to congratulate the President and the organisers of this annual event on its tenth anniversary. It is good to see that over the course of a decade the Szakma Sztár event has become a real success story. Ten years’ hard work will be truly rewarded in 2018, when Hungary has the honour of hosting the EuroSkills competition, in which Europe’s best students – Hungary’s among them – can put their skills to the test.
Most of you students will soon decide on your careers and how to continue your lives. I am here to reassure you that you are not alone in your decision. The Hungarian government and the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry are behind you. Naturally, no one else can make the decision on your own future for you: you are the ones who must decide, and both the possibility and the responsibility are yours. All we can do is give you aspects to consider, and share our own life experiences with you. I suggest that you take into account business and the economy, and also tell your fellow students that it is the demands of the economy that will decide who will find a job immediately after leaving school and who will spend the rest of their lives seeking their place in the world. It is likewise the economy that will decide whose lives reach a dead-end because of a bad decision.
Today the economy is sending you the message that in the future there will be a need for good specialists. Education without specific qualifications does not give you much chance of success. The economy is sending you the message that there will be demand for highly-trained people, adequately prepared for the new digital era, who are committed to European culture and the work ethic. They will surely have jobs and good salaries, and they will have further training opportunities. You can be certain that the world of adults, the Government, the professional associations and other professional organisations will stand by you. I can reassure you that we shall not give the job opportunities offered by Hungary either to guest workers or to migrants. You will always come first, and everyone else can only come after you. We, together with your parents, want your decisions on your careers to lead you to secure futures. We would like you to gain qualifications in areas where you can find jobs – qualifications that will provide you with a decent living, here in Hungary. In other words, we want you to gain qualifications which provide security and dignity, and which help you to reach even higher. In Hungary today there is keen competition among businesses for good specialists. This will also be the case in the future, and so those who wish to work will have the opportunity to do so. The number of jobs will increase, and wages will continuously rise – mainly, of course, for those who are good at their jobs.
Dear Students, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I do not wish to place too heavy a burden on your shoulders, but you should be aware that in just a few years’ time you will, in effect, be carrying Hungary – as we did, as your parents did, and as your grandparents did before them. This is the way of the world. And Hungary will become what you make it: an optimistic, prosperous, safe, well-educated and developing homeland; or a country in stagnation and decline. In just a few more years it will be up to you. My other advice to you is that the demand is no longer for cheap labour: it is for highly-qualified staff with digital skills who are able to generate high added value, and for tens of thousands of new IT engineers. We can help you in this by providing digital skills development for 260,000 workers, and by providing special scholarships for students studying IT. We are building a scholarship system for qualified workers in occupations with skills shortages; as you may know, this has already been launched. We shall also offer you the possibility of student placement contracts. These new schemes will be developed and launched in a cooperation between professional bodies and the government.
Finally, Young People,
I would urge you to be bold: the future is yours. Hungary is a beautiful country – indeed, a great one. You can begin your adult lives in a country which is developing and advancing. You will stand on the threshold of great opportunities, so please prepare yourselves to turn these opportunities to good advantage. I wish you all the best of luck. And I also ask you to pass on my best wishes to your parents. I hope everyone will feel their time here has been well spent, and I wish the best of luck to the contestants.
Go for it, Hungary! Go for it, Hungarians!