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Wednesday 18.07.2018 | Name days: Rozālija, Roze

Latvia’s construction sector may lose hundreds of skilled construction managers

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis week, Saeima deputies made the decision to put off the coming into force of the new Construction Law. This law will mean a choice for many workers of this sector – further education in a university or submission of resignation.

According to De facto programme, this decision means the construction sector may lose hundreds of skilled construction managers. Furthermore, it is also important to consider the rapid decline in the number of construction managers on the labour market. Those who remain will likely have to take responsibility for even more construction objects than before.

‘We do not know the rules that are included in the new law. Maybe keeping us in the dark is done intentionally, so that we would leave the market entirely. Maybe they plan to involve specialists who do not require our certification,’ – says construction technologist, Chairman of Latvijas celtnieks Arturs Tutins.

He has been working in the construction sector for 25 years. He is one of the people who will be forced to put up with new rules regarding education requirements. He graduated from the Construction College at the end of the ‘80s. Since then he has been actively studying in order to gain more knowledge about the industry. If the Construction Law comes into force in its current version, Tutins will have to return to his studies in the college. He is worried that his previous education will not be taken into account, which may force him to study for three years all over again.

Inese Sture, deputy Director of Education Department of Education and Science Ministry, says it is impossible to view previously acquired education and modern higher professional education on the same level.

Theoretical knowledge cannot be carried on. Skilled construction managers can only hope that they will not be required to undergo work practice as well. The specially-formed committee is required to decide whether or not work practice should be made mandatory.

‘If there was an opportunity, the college would have developed a special programme to take into account previously gained experience and knowledge in further education. We cannot do this for the time being,’ – says Director of Riga Construction College Irena Luse.

Those who are not prepared to sit behind a desk and study mathematics, physics and interior design after fifty or more years will have to search for new opportunities in the industry. The situation will be made even more complicated for those living in regions, because the only education facilities that offer education in the construction sector are located in Riga and Rezekne.

Director of Economy Ministry’s Construction and housing Policy Ilze Osa believes: ‘If a person’s goal is to be a certified construction manager – he will go studying. If his goal is to be in the industry, use his skills and knowledge to perform his work, he can continue to do it. […] No one will be forced to work in an industry. The only obligation is to be responsible for the overall process and be a registered worker.’

There is still no compromise that would allow those who worked and studied in the times where there was no such thing as higher education of level one. It may be acceptable to allow the management of less important public structures, believes Jnis Niedre of Riga Construction College: ‘I believe construction technologists should be allowed to work at construction objects of specific categories.’

Economy Ministry calls the time allocated for acquiring education a suitable compromise. Three years – it is said to be enough to acquire education and allow the sector to reform.

Reality is such – education acquired in Latvia in the near future will not allow specialists to work in construction field. However, it will allow them to work in Norway, where Latvian specialists are in demand.

It is hard to calculate the number of specialists that will have to leave their work. Latest estimates suggest nearly 2,000. If these people refuse to study, the remaining specialists will likely be forced to manage construction work at ten or more locations at a time.

Latvian Union of Structural Engineers has calculated that 1,400 building construction managers and 540 road and bridge construction managers will likely lose their rights to hold private practice. The number of certified specialists in regions may reduce 80%.

The National Development Plan provides for a large-scale development until 2020. It is expected that the number of construction objects will reach the level of ‘fat years’. This means that there will only be 1,420 building construction specialists and 390 road and bridge construction specialists for a total of 5,000 construction companies (1:3).


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  1. Mike Walsh says:

    They could go into politics. This ‘career’ requires no training nor experience. You get to dip into the public purse and standards will be a thing of the past. I am serious.

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