The Estonian qualifications authority has completed the pilot of a new labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system (known by its Estonian acronym OSKA). OSKA is a strong analytical tool for enhancing the employability of graduates and, in the longer term, for contributing to productivity and economic growth. The first three OSKA reports on ICT, accounting, and the forestry and timber industry were published in 2016 alongside a general overview of global and domestic trends influencing the supply and demand of labour in Estonia. An additional 20 reports will cover all major sectors.

The key message common to all sectors is to increase the workforce capable of generating added value.

The number of ICT professionals should ideally increase by 50% by 2020. Broad knowledge and skills in ICT and across different disciplines are what employers look for most in graduates. The proportion of teaching of sector-specific ICT skills and knowledge should also increase in all VET study fields.

In accounting, the report indicates that the number of jobs with simple, routine tasks is decreasing and that the demand for professionals with high-level analytical skills is increasing. It is recommended to cut the number of study places for accountants in VET, instead focusing on the capacity of education institutions to update curricula continuously, taking into account the future role of accounting professionals as providers and interpreters of information for strategic decision-making.

An expert panel analysed the supply and demand of skills in the forestry and timber industry and reported a shortage of skilled workers outside the Tallinn area. Professional associations are willing to take the lead in popularising professions in the industry and attracting more young people to studies at all levels of education. For a smooth school-to-work transition the proportion of practical training, internships and apprenticeships should be increased.

The Ministry of Education and Research values the ability of OSKA to develop new evidence and intelligence for different stakeholders in education and the business world.

Background information

OSKA is a system of applied research surveys on the need for labour and skills required for Estonia’s economic development over the next 10 years. It provides qualitative and quantitative input across all levels of education to assess skills needs in a specific sector of the economy (such as ICT, accounting, health care or agriculture). Under OSKA, 23 expert panels consisting of employers, education professionals, visionaries and public sector officials will be formed and 23 sectoral reports will be published by 2020. The panels issue practical recommendations to decision-makers and stakeholders. An OSKA general report on changes in labour demand, labour market developments and basic trends is prepared annually and presented to the government. OSKA results are used in the career counselling, curriculum development and strategic planning at all levels of education.

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