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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena
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Businessmen doubt reform will solve qualified labour issue

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Vitalijs Skrivelis

Vitalijs Skrivelis

Vocational education reform should have been carried out long ago; however, businessmen doubt whether the currently started vocational education institutions’ optimization and modernization will solve the qualified labour shortage, consider the participants of the discussion organized by the business portal Nozare.lv.

Businessmen more and more often indicate they lack skilled medium-level workers. The chemical and pharmaceutical and metalworking industries have most frequently singled this out as an issue. They doubt whether the ongoing reform will solve this.

The Latvian Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries Association consultant Andis Lejiņš says it is difficult to answer the question now, because a lot has changed during the crisis.

Construction companies have returned people to other industries; yet, there is still a lack of workers. The question is how many students drop out of vocational education and how many school graduates industries receive, Lejins indicates.

While the Latvian Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry Association Chairman Vitālijs Skrīvelis believes the situation is bad, as the reform does not meet the needs.

Possibly, the industry’s requirements are so specific that it was difficult for the Ministry of Education and Science to provide them.  Chemistry is taught at vocational schools and secondary schools; however, 20-year-old methods and 30-year-old equipment is still used at vocational schools. Consequently, there are no modern schools in Latvia to promote the production process. Besides, six to eight months should be devoted in each workplace for the professional training of school graduate, Skrivelis explains.

The expert thinks this vocational training reform has very little to do with the focus on seven export industries singled out by the government as priorities to provide yield and boost value added goods exports.

Of the 14 established competence centres, none are chemical-pharmaceutical industries, although they were named among the priorities. We are the fifth largest in terms of the turnover per employee, Skrivelis notes.

The Ministry of Education and Science Vocational Education and General Education Department Director Jānis Gaigals says the problem is there are many sectors and each has various associations and professional organizations, so the Ministry cannot get consolidated sector’s view on its needs.

We support the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and I think it will also be one of the first sectors to set up its own expert council on education, because this sector is many steps ahead of others. It is important for the Ministry that the education contractor receives the right order. The chemical and pharmaceutical sector will be one of the first to manage in order to formulate this demand, Gaigals emphasizes.


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