Studies of the sectors and creation of Sectoral Expert Councils.
First phase (studies and creation of expert councils): December 2010 - November 2015. The work of SECs is continuously ongoing.
The first phase of instrument (the study of the sectors) has been completed, and as a result 12 Sectoral Expert Councils (SECs) were created. SECs are fully operational and are functioning according to Vocational Education Law.
An instrument for designing occupational standards and other policy instruments in the fields of initial VET, higher education and lifelong learning (for example in the design of training curricula and training plans). Two of the SECs' functions are development of sectoral qualifications frameworks, and development of occupational standards and qualification requirements.
To ensure relevant and comprehensive information about skills demand and supply in the sectors of the economy. The goal of SECs is to promote VET effectiveness and quality of VET by promoting cooperation between state institutions, municipalities, employers and their organisations, trade unions and professionals to deal with human resource development issues. It aims to also improve the quality and efficiency of vocational education according to the needs of national economy sectors, as well as addresses vocational training directly in the fields where there is the largest number of labour force and the skills that will have to be upgraded most of all. The descriptions of sectors provide structured and detailed information, which can be used for the design and implementation of different skill mismatch policy measures. This information includes: data and forecasts on the macro-economic development of sectors of the economy, including the demand for workforce; data and forecasts on the development of the workforce in the sectors; and data on the structure of occupations and qualifications in the sectors. This instrument provides necessary information for the work of SECs and the development of occupational standards and other measures dealing with the matching of supply of skills in the education system and demand for skills in the sectors of economy.
It is explicitly designed to address skill mismatch through providing information about the current and future demand and supply of qualifications and skills in sectors of the national economy. At the same time, this instrument is part of the national project funded by the ESF "Nozaru kvalifikācijas sistēmas izveide un profesionālās izglītības efektivitātes un kvalitātes paaugstināšana" (Development of a sectoral qualifications system and increasing the efficiency and quality of vocational education). It targets skill mismatch through the definition and forecast of the supply and demand of qualifications and skills in sectors of the national economy.
Main responsible body
The Ministry of Education and Science
The Ministry of Education and Science was supervisor of the project. State Education Development Agency coordinated the implementation of the project. Social partners, who were responsible for the provision of expertise and information in the design and development of the sectoral descriptors and occupational standards were:
- Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Darba devēju konfederācija),
- Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo arodbiedrību savienība),
- National Centre for Education (Valsts izglītības satura centrs)
- State Agency of quality in Education (Izglītības kvalitātes valsts dienests).
The Council consists of the representatives delegated by sectoral employers’ organisations, trade unions and their associations, sectoral professional organisations, as well as the relevant ministries. In conformity with the specificity of the matters within the competence of the relevant Council, also representatives of public persons (including State institutions, local governments, planning regions, and educational institutions or founders thereof) and other sectoral experts were involved in the composition of the Council. A decision on establishment of the Council shall be taken by the Vocational Education and Employment Tripartite Cooperation Subcouncil of the National Tripartite Cooperation Council.
It was mainly funded by the European Social Foundation (years active 2010-2015; ESF €3,405,530; total €3,628,322). The work of SECs now is financed by involved social partners.
The main users are education and training institutions, employers organisations, professional organisations, qualification awarding bodies and institutions, state institutions and agencies responsible for the skill mismatch policies. The sectors of SECs are:
1) Tourism and beauty industry
2) Chemical industry and related branches (pharmaceutics, biotechnology, environment)
3) Metalworking, machine building, mechanical engineering
4) Textile industry, leather and leather products producing
5) Timber industry (forestry, wood processing)
6) Building and construction industry
7) Power industry
8) Food processing and agriculture
9) Entrepreneurship, finances, accountancy, administration (wholesale & retail trade, commerce)
10) Printing and publishing industry, paper and products production, computer design
11) Manufacturing of electronic and optical equipment, ICT
12) Transport and logistics
Use of labour market intelligence
By promoting the quality of the VET and via SECs improving content according to industry needs, can ensure that VET graduates acquire to work necessary knowledge, competencies and skills, and are competitive in the labour market. The data used for analysis of skills and competencies in sectors are obtained from State Employment Agency (Ministry of Welfare) - short term labour market prognosis; and Ministry of Economy - mid and long term labour market prognosis.
There are no special financial schemes involved. Sectoral studies were financed by European Social Fund and state (ESF €3,405,530; total €3,628,322). All structures (SECs) are now public/NGO funded.
Frequency of updates
SECs meetings are taking place once every three months and the agenda can contain revision of policies according to the latest prognosis on labour market demand (from Ministries of Welfare and Economy).
No, the instrument works as envisaged.
The profound involvement of sectoral and cross-sectoral social partners.
Indicators measured were the numbers of standards, requirements and programmes produced. The SECs' work (as a framework) is ongoing and self-monitored, so it can detect and, if necessary, react to any problems/demands.
The sectoral council approach was innovative for Latvia, but same concepts can be seen in other EU countries.
Evidence of effectiveness
This instrument is open to a very wide range of users. Therefore, it is difficult to indicate the specific number of beneficiaries.
It is rather difficult to estimate the impact of the sectoral studies, but considering the strategic role that these instruments play in the design of occupational standards, it can be estimated that the overall impact on the development of the national system of qualifications and coping with skill mismatch will be high.
So far SECs have completed (2016): 14 research reports on sectors, 14 sectoral qualification frameworks, 61 Occupational Standards, 19 Qualification Requirements and 56 VET modules-based programmes. SECs are also working on approbation of recognition of prior learning system. The sectoral qualification system enables to ensure the transparency, comparability and portability of the national economy sectoral qualifications in the internationally recognised qualification levels in other European countries' qualification systems.
Engagement of stakeholders
Vocational Education Law and Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 485 (adopted 15 July 2016) on Procedures for Establishment, Operation, and Coordination of Activities of Sectoral Expert Councils sets out the frequency of SECs meetings (minimum once every 3 months) as well as structure/membership of SECs.
Similar instruments are implemented in many countries (France, UK, Czech Republic etc). The transfer of SECs (idea of involvement of social partners in development of VET standards) is highly recommended.
The work of SECs depends on political will and available future financing from EU funds and public budget. But the growing popularity of SECs shows that they are an integral part of VET. SECs will continue work on creating a clear and transparent system of Occupational Standards, being the leading partner in promoting cooperation between employers, employees, education institutions and public institutions, as well as serving as a regulator between labour market needs and possibilities of schools.