Overview of the Lithuanian approach
Lithuania undertakes a number of activities which feed into skills anticipation and forecasting. In 1999 a project, financed by the European Training Foundation conducted with the assistance of experts from Ireland, developed a methodology for undertaking sectoral studies. Subsequently, an analysis of skills supply and demand across 10 sectors of the economy was regularly undertaken until 2008. The sector based approach has recently been superseded by the development of a more comprehensive means of skills anticipation with the development of the NHRM system. (1)
Short-term employment forecasting has been in place since 1995 and is undertaken by the Labour Exchange (the PES). It provides an employment forecast for the year ahead. It is based on an analysis of economic and demographic indicators and data from employer surveys. It is used to provide vocational guidance to jobseekers and to determine vocational training needs. Its results are used to produce The Barometer of Employment Opportunities that provides, amongst other things, the top 10 occupations most in demand in the labour market.
There have been new developments in skills anticipation: The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Economy launched an initiative entitled The map of competence demand. The underlying idea was to oblige employers to provide information about the skills composition of the occupations in which their employees worked using the country’s occupational classification, and to compare these data with those available on the supply of qualifications. In this way a better understanding of the match between qualifications attained and jobs filled can be obtained. Data collection started in 2013. The State Social Insurance Fund (SODRA) board is responsible for data collection from companies.
In addition to the above, the project Human resources demand forecasting and links between qualifications and occupations monitoring system development also commenced in 2013. Commissioned by the Ministry of Economy and funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) for two years, the project sought to investigate how skills forecasting is undertaken in other countries with view to implementing a forecasting model for Lithuania.
In February 2016 the Government provided the legal basis for the creation of national skills monitoring processes, the NHRM. The NHRM will provide a comprehensive process for assessing current and future demand and supply of skills.
Over time, skills anticipation in Lithuania has provided a greater role for stakeholders to contribute information and opinion on skills mismatches. The process has also sought to engage with higher education and vocational education and training (VET) institutions more in order for the education system to better adapt to current and future skills needs.
Skills anticipation in Lithuania aims to improve knowledge of current and future skills demand and supply, and thereby reduce skills mismatch in the labour market. Improved knowledge of developments in the supply of, and demand for, skills is sought to enable firms, individuals and educational institutions to make evidence-based decisions regarding investing in skills.
Aside from the establishment of the relevant agencies, Lithuania does not have a structured regulatory framework for skills anticipation. Steps are being taken to enhance the regulatory framework with legislation defining the role of the social partners in skills anticipation (see section “The role of stakeholders”). As noted above, the government has recently started the process of developing national skills/human resource monitoring processes with the NHRM. It has provided the legal basis for, amongst other things, the continuous data collection and analysis to allow the education sector to make evidence-based decisions in assessing current and future skills demand.
The Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and the Ministry of Economy together with Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) are responsible for skills anticipation. The Ministry of Education oversees the work of the Education Management Information System (Švietimo Valdymo Informacinė Sistema), and the Register of Diplomas and Certificates, while the Ministry of Social Security and Labour governs the Board of the SODRA and the Lithuanian Labour Exchange. The Ministry of Economy is responsible for the management of the Lithuanian Classification of Occupations. MOSTA falls under the responsibility of the Office of the Government.
In relation to the development of the NHRM system, the Government has established a Commission to coordinate its development. It is comprised of seven members representing the Office of the Government, the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Science and Education, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour and MOSTA. The Ministry of Education and Science also approves the indicators to be included in the NHRM.
The role of stakeholders
A number of stakeholders take part in skills anticipation activities. Employer representatives, trade unions, and education providers are involved in skills anticipation, mainly through their roles in ensuring that qualification and training programmes meet certain standards and relate to demands in the economy. Steps are being taken to better coordinate and engage stakeholders in skills anticipation. In 2014-15, the Ministry of Education and Science signed collaboration agreements with associations representing employers from the hotels, restaurants, catering, aviation, IT, apparel and textiles, and engineering sectors. The agreements fostered a closer working arrangement to solve issues linked to the legal framework for VET, VET provision, career guidance, and work-based learning (including apprenticeships).
Many bodies focus on VET in their skills anticipation activities. Cooperative bodies, such as the VET Council, and Central Professional Committee (CPC) and Sectoral Professional Committee (SPC) are all legislated for with defined roles and responsibilities, thereby providing a forum for stakeholders to express their assessments, views of, and expectations for VET policy and practice. For instance, VET enrolment plans must be agreed with the VET Council.
The CPC and the SPC were developed subsequent to the 2007 law on VET. The CPC is an advisory body comprising representatives of social partners that considers strategic issues on the development of the national qualifications system. The SPC consists in nine or more members representing employers, employees, and education providers. The Committees’ main function is to advise the Qualifications and VET Development Centre (Kvalifikacijų ir profesinio mokymo plėtros centras) regarding sectoral qualifications and the competences needed to acquire them, to set priorities for the development of qualifications standards listing requirements for various levels of qualification, and to endorse standards. With approval from the sectoral committees, qualifications standards are approved by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Economy. SPCs also analyse consistency in training programmes against the prescribed standards.
Chambers of Commerce are involved in assessing skills needs, and the social partners are actively involved in assessing competences acquired through formal, non-formal, work-based, or informal learning. The CPC and the SPC are relatively new bodies and are likely to take time to make effective contributions to the development of standards and programmes. There is limited cooperation between stakeholders at the regional level. At the local level, the effectiveness of cooperation varies from school to school. Employer representatives help to design VET programmes according to labour market needs by participating in the management of VET institutions as members of their boards. At present, the social partners, enterprises and municipal governments participate directly in the management of a quarter of all initial VET providers, which have self-governing status.
Furthermore, the Vocational Education and Training Council (Lietuvos profesinio mokymo taryba) was established to advise national education authorities on solving strategic VET issues and includes representatives of government (Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour), municipal institutions and organisations representing employers’ and employees’ interests. Similarly, the CPC coordinates strategic issues relating to the qualifications system and consists of a committee of representatives of state and municipal government, VET providers, and the social partners, such as workers’ and employers’ representatives. Its main responsibilities are to establish priority sectors, make suggestions regarding the qualifications structure and advise the Qualifications and VET Development Centre on qualifications and labour market needs. SPCs are there to advise the Qualifications and VET Development Centre on qualifications and competences relevant to particular sectors. They also advise on the relevance of training programmes to a sector. There are 17 SPCs that include representatives drawn from the social partners, education and training providers, and sector specific organisations.
To initiate a new study programme, higher education institutions must provide information on the need for professionals to be trained in the labour market and must provide employers with opinions on these issues. Increasing cooperation between higher education institutions and the social partners enables employers and other institutions to express their opinion directly, influence decision-making and have a direct influence on the assessment of student learning outcomes with the aim of reducing skills mismatches in the labour market. Given the emphasis on matching skills supply and demand, the higher education sector aims to ensure better cooperation between the social partners and other stakeholders.
The intended target groups for skills anticipation are the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The data generated are used to enable the education sector and policymakers to make evidence-based decisions and, more generally, to inform society about labour market developments and likely future demand for skills. Skills anticipation is also aimed at education and training institutions, career guidance counsellors, the PES (in assisting jobseekers), as well as individuals looking to develop their skills. Young people are also a target group via the information and support that career advisers provide.
Funding and resources
Skills anticipation is largely funded by the government. The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour fund the work of their respective agencies. The ESF also co-funds developments in skills anticipation. For example, the NHRM is co-funded by the national government and the ESF.