Regional stakeholder seminar at Smiltene Technical School

The project team from the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science organized a regional stakeholder seminar at Smiltene Technical School on November 28. It attracted a wide range of participants – mainly representatives of vocational institutions and companies from Vidzeme region, also from governmental educational bodies, associations of employers and higher education institutions.

The seminar was opened by Andris Miezītis – the director of the Smiltene Technical School and Rūta Gintaute-Marihina – the director of the Department of Vocational and Adult Education at the Ministry of Education and Science. She gave a presentation on developments in national VET policy. Sarmīte Valaine (National Centre for Education) gave an insight into the regulations regarding the organization of WBL and the requirements for WBL tutors.

The TTT4WBL project was presented by the project coordinator Inta Baranovska (National Centre for Education), Vita Žunda (Baltic Bright) explained more in detail the tandem training approach and Ilze Buligina (Ministry of Education and Science) talked about the Baltic cooperation in fostering apprenticeships. In a similar line two more Erasmus+ projects were invited as good practice examples for Baltic cooperation and involvement of companies in VET – “Skills for the Baltic Wood Industry – European Quality in VET” (Skilled-Up, German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce) and “Pilot Platform of Vocational Excellence Water” (Pilot PoWE Water, Riga Technical University).

The plenary session also included presentations on the importance of VET qualifications in the Latvian labour market (by Normunds Ozols from the Ministry of Economics) and the available support for acquiring and improving professional knowledge and skills (by Agra Spurdziņa, head of the Valmiera branch office of the State Employment Agency). Lāsma Mencendorfa (head of the programme “Dzīvei gatavs”) gave an insight into an innovative programme bringing together schools and companies that prepare educational units showing how the school curriculum is related to its daily work.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion on further development of work-based learning in Latvia and cooperation of companies and VET schools. The employers emphasized the need for more information on WBL in order to involve more companies in VET provision.