The Portuguese cork industry has invested in recent years in the qualification of human resources and that is reflected in the increase in the middle and upper management of companies, as well as highly qualified professionals. The sector has a new framework of professions and requires new knowledge and skills, as a result of the investments made and with permanently ongoing innovation.
The data of the Ministry of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security (MSESS) and the National Statistics Agency (INE) do not match for 2012 (the latest data available), but on average there are nine thousand workers in the cork industry.
According to MSESS, it turns out that about four out of five industry workers have completed only basic education. However, the percentage of those who have gone beyond this level of education is increasing. It grew from 15.5% to 20%, between 2006 and 2012. In this same period, the number of workers of the sector who have completed master’s degrees and PhDs increased by 142%.
In terms of professional qualifications, a positive development has been observed from 2006 to 2012. The percentage of unskilled and semi-skilled workers decreased significantly, i.e. 24%, and, on the other hand, that of skilled workers, supervisors and managers increased. The percentage of skilled workers of the cork industry in 2012 was 49.3%. These were: 7.9% were senior managers, 3% middle managers, 23.3% unskilled workers.
The Cork industry’s vocational training centre organises a set of training courses in the areas of quality, hygiene and safety, foreign languages, industrial management, production environment, communication and marketing, among others. It provides different levels of training to the industry professionals: from modular training to ongoing training, training for entrepreneurs and courses of adult education and training that award academic and professional certificates. Cincork has trained 36,000 people over its 30 years in operation, reaching 70% employability of its graduates in 2014, under its learning courses.
The SME Training project aims to contribute to the integrated development of these small companies through the development of personal, professional and organisational skills, using methodologies adapted to the dimension and contextual reality of those production units. It operates on a network logic, implemented by the Portuguese Business Association (AEP) as the management entity, and by a group of partner entities, the majority industrial and commercial associations, who implemented the programme with welfare entities and small and very small companies (less than 100 employees). In the case of the cork sector, APCOR promotes the programme. From 2003 to 2015, APCOR facilitated interventions in 207 companies.