Sectoral professional committees (SPC) are advisory bodies formed to ensure cooperation between all VET stakeholders. They aim to support the effectiveness of the qualifications system in a specific economic sector as well as the labour market relevance of vocational training programmes in a specific economic sector/group of activities.
The latest Law on vocational education and training of the Republic of Lithuania (2017) enhances the role of sectoral professional committees. The new framework is expected to increase the effectiveness of the Lithuanian qualification system and since February 2018, SPCs have been coordinating the development of sectoral qualifications to ensure that sectoral needs are met and implemented in a timely and efficient manner. Their main functions are:
- to approve vocational standards, their drafting and updating, and submit conclusions on updated standards;
- to assess vocational training programmes or their modules;
- to assess the scope of apprenticeship training organisation within a specific economic sector and submit offers to the Ministry of Education and Science on vocational training through apprenticeships;
- to help external evaluation of vocational training suppliers offering formal vocational training, as well as the external evaluation of vocational training programmes;
- to submit conclusions to a qualifications management body on requirements for the registration of non-formal vocational training programmes and their modules in the Register of studies, curricula and qualifications;
- to consider and submit proposals to the Ministry of Education and Science regarding Level I-VIII qualifications in the Lithuanian qualifications framework (including qualification names, levels, assessment, awarding);
- to submit proposals to the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour on non-formal vocational training and non-formal adult education programmes and(or) the need for specialists.
The Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre (KPMPC) supervises and coordinates the activities of the sectoral committees. Following analysis of sectoral needs, the number of sectoral committees increased from 17 to 18, currently covering all economic sectors. New operating procedures have been approved and the composition of SPC members has been updated.
On 12 October 2018, the KPMPC organised public consultations on the role of the sectoral committees to support the development of a sustainable national qualifications system. According to the Minister of Education and Science, Jurgita Petrauskienė, sectoral committees are cooperation platforms for business representatives, employers, employees and education providers to reach common agreement. Advisor to the Minister of Education and Science, Marius Ablačinskas, stressed the committees’ potential in enhancing sectoral centres of practical training and supporting strategic planning. The KPMPC deputy director Dr Jolanta Navickaitė presented an overview of the national qualifications system (professional standards, VET programmes) and the main functions of the sectoral committees. The importance of business representatives’ proactive involvement was also stressed by the head of the human resources division of the Ministry of Economy, Linas Kadys.