Car manufacturing
Business 18/10/2021

Martorell VET macrocentre moves away from the automotive sector

The Fundació per la Indústria presents a candidacy to manage the installations and Eurecat is studying the possibility

2 min
Image of the Martorell vocational training centre, which cost 17.6 million.

BarcelonaOn 20 March 2015 the Martorell Automotive Vocational Training macrocentre was inaugurated, which cost €17.6m and has capacity for 15,000 students per year. According to the Generalitat, it was to be a key facility for the sector and to guarantee a qualified workforce in the short and medium term. They sounded out companies like Seat (the installation is right next to its factory) or Nissan to manage it. And even the then president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, claimed at the inauguration that it would be "a centre of reference for the automotive industry and effective for the coming years".

But the reality is completely different. Apart from the fact that the installations have been practically empty for over six years, as ARA has learnt, none of the two companies that have applied to take over are specialized in the automotive sector. Two weeks ago the Catalan Employment Services, which is currently in charge, re-tendered the management after a first failed attempt that included two extensions. The new process ends on November 4.

The first of the candidates is the Fundació per la Industria, which has already presented its documentation. It is based in Sabadell and its origins lie in the textile industry. It currently presents itself as a lobby group for the defence of industry and as a creator of employment. "We help small and medium-sized companies in the industrial sector to make the leap to 4.0, to adapt to create value through technology," the new president of the foundation, Miquel Ribé, explains. He does not know the details of the candidacy to manage the equipment because, he explains, it was carried out by the previous president.

The second candidate, which has not yet submitted its application, is Eurecat, much of whose funding depends on the Generalitat itself (the grant it received in 2020 was €20.1m). Eurecat is a technology transfer centre. In this case, it does have various projects in the car-manufacturing sector.

In fact, Eurecat idea's was to present a joint application with the Catalonia's Car-manufacturing Cluster (CIAC), but the latter is not convinced. The tender rules "relegate the car manufacturing sector to the background", according to its president, Josep Maria Vall: "We as a sector have always said that we should have a very clear role in this centre and, once again, either we are not heard or they do not want to listen to us".

Eurecat, which already showed interest in managing the centre in the first tender but did not meet all the requirements, insists that it is key that there is a collaboration agreement with the CIAC. "What we have to see is in what format," explains Eurecat's general corporate and operations director, Xavier López.

"Absolute scandal"

In addition to getting the sector involved, another difficulty for Eurecat is that the management company that will run the installation, as the competition rules make clear, has to be a public limited company and the centre is a foundation. "What we will have to do is create an independent legal instrument," says López. Before submitting the candidacy, Eurecat is preparing financial projections to ensure that the installation is sustainable.

The vice-president of the business association of Hospitalet and Baix Llobregat, Rosa Fiol, describes as an "absolute scandal" the situation of the centre, considering that it was built "with public money" and that there is a deficit of places in formal vocational training in the metal sector in the region for years, including the field of car manufacturing. "It should be a metal VET centre and be part of the territorial strategy of Baix Llobregat," she laments.