Estonia has invested heavily in recent years in its skills governance, mainly through the jobs and skills forecasting system OSKA. Five years ago, the Estonian Qualifications Authority began conducting research that analyses the need for skills and labour over the next decade and compares this to VET, HE and continuing education provision.
OSKA’s analysts and partners celebrated the five-year anniversary by looking back as well as towards the future. Minister of Education and Research emphasised that forward-looking analyses should also address professions and occupations that do not yet exist. ‘Without knowing future needs, it is not even possible to plan bite-size learning’, said the minister; he was referring to new trends in education – such as microlearning and hybrid solutions – combining virtual and contact learning, modular VET integrated with general education or upskilling courses.
OSKA research has analysed all economic sectors, looking at the need for jobs and skills over the next five to ten years. The education system requires this information in order to adapt its learning provision to meet labour market needs. The analyses are based on labour market and education statistics and are compiled in cooperation with employers, policy makers and representatives of VET and HE institutions.
Research reflecting on VET shows that too few learners choose industry-related studies and that graduates lack technical and technological skills. Over the next 10 years there will be a shortage of VET graduates. One third of jobs require vocational education but VET graduates make up only 25% of the labour force in Estonia.
OSKA reacts flexibly to the needs of society and the labour market. An example of this is the continuing Covid-19 impact study, which assesses how the crisis has affected jobs in different sectors of the economy, the scenarios in the case of long-term recovery from the crisis, and how it impacts OSKA’s labour and skills forecasts. The results of the impact study will be published early next year.