Taiwan should tackle brain drain: German envoy

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 - Page 14

Taiwan’s brain drain is a concern for German companies seeking to invest in the nation and should be tackled, according to Germany’s envoy to Taiwan.

These days, many young people leave for China to find higher incomes, German Institute Taipei Director-General Michael Zickerick said on Monday.

“Understandable, but for Taiwan I think it’s also a problem. You don’t want to lose too many people who might be important for your development here,” he said.

In addition to the brain drain, Zickerick said some German companies have complained about difficulties in bringing white-collar foreign workers to Taiwan due to restrictive hiring laws.

He touted the strengths of Germany’s vocational training system and said both nations could look into jointly developing training programs and exploring other means of cooperation.

His remarks came as Taiwan seeks to transform its vocational training system. The Ministry of Education said that it is learning about the strengths of vocational training in other countries to improve its own.

The German envoy said he participated in a joint vocational training program between Germany and Russia more than a decade ago.

From the mid-1990s to 2002, 15,000 young people joined the program and received practical training in companies and theoretical training in schools in Germany and Russia, Zickerick said.

“I am firmly convinced that this [vocational education] is one of the best ways to train the backbone of our economy,” he added.