News

Young Gain Job Advantage in Post- Communist Societies

Multimedia

Audio
<!-- IMAGE -->

The symbol of Communism - the hammer and sickle - represents the main tools of physical labor used by industrial and agricultural workers.  But the collapse of the Iron Curtain 20 years ago coincided with a decline in heavy industry and the rise of the Internet and knowledge-based companies.  

The Gdansk Shipyard, birthplace of the Solidarity Trade Union that led the struggle against Communism in Poland, was a place where thousands of workers could expect a lifetime of employment under the old state-supported system.  Thirty four year veteran Ludwig Pradzynski says there are few young people there today.

<!-- IMAGE -->

Pradzynski says the reason young people are not working at the shipyard is because the job is so hard.  He says that from the vantage point of his shop on the launch ramp, he does not know what is happening in the offices, where educated employees can be found.  
 
Sunreef Yachts, located just a few hundred meters from Pradzynski's shop, hired about 400 of the most energetic and adaptable designers, engineers and technicians who lost their jobs when the main shipyard downsized.  Sales representative Maciej Stompor says those workers were generally younger and willing to put in longer hours than most at the shipyard.

"People that used to work in the shipyards before, I mean the very simple workers, they did not feel responsibility for the work they were doing; for the part of the ship they were creating.  Nobody taught them," said Stompor.

Teaching young people about competition, marketing and innovation is the mission of the International Business School in Budapest.  The school's founder and chancellor, Istvan Tamas, says the change from communism was difficult for the older generation.

Tamas says that for those born in the new era or were very young, it was a very natural process; for them, there has been no change.

Many in post-communist societies say younger people can deal better with the uncertainties of unemployment than older workers who had guaranteed jobs under communism.

That attitude led to the creation of Poland's InteliWISE Company, a high-tech firm that creates avatars, or talking online figures for Web sites of international corporations.  InteliWISE vice president Marek Trojanowicz recalls his earlier business endeavor failed.
 
"It is the natural way that some things you do in your life, some idea is good for your business and you find a way for your business, and of course, some ideas just collapse and you should just stand on your legs and say, 'OK, it collapsed, let us find some other ideas and start a new business," he said.

InteliWISE is located at the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park, home to about 80 Polish high tech companies in the city of Gdynia near Gdansk.  Most of the employees are young.  Park representative Magdalena Zacharczuk says she knows of no former shipyard workers working there.

"The key factor is that they have to be innovative.  So perhaps it is a little bit harder to think of something innovative once you are a little bit further in your years compared to, for example, students who are still inspired by what they learned recently in the university," she said.

Zacharczuk says the Science and Technology Park receives subsidies from the city of Gdynia and the European Union, subsidies that Poland's aging shipyards no longer get.  She says this is a clear indication that the future belongs to younger educated workers; a future made possible by the successful struggle of Polish shipyard workers against Communism 20 years ago. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs