More than half of companies are interested in offering apprenticeships, also called work-place learning opportunities, in their organizations because they perceive it as means of finding new employees and training current staff. The poll carried out by the Estonian Employers' Confederation revealed the lack of work-place tutors as the biggest obstacle, and also the lack of information on how to start out as an apprentice.
There were 17 companies of questionnaire responders, which had a co-operation with an educational institution, and had already provided apprenticeship opportunities.
„The results of the poll show that more and more company managers see work-place education as a relief to the problem of deficit of skilled workers, but majority of them don’t yet get to the phase of putting it into action,” commented Toomas Tamsar, the head of the Estonian Employers' Confederation.
The major obstacle pointed out by the companies keeping them from offering apprenticeships were the lack of employees inside the company trained for providing such education. Besides that there is a problem with being informed about the opportunities of apprenticeships and also that tutoring creates big additional workload for the current staff. To carry out tutoring and providing apprenticeship the work-place tutor must be excused from one’s main duties, which assumes the availability of additional workforce. At the same time there is no guarantees that the apprentice receiving the education stays to work for the company.
“One solution suggested, was to provide training opportunities for tutors, and pay them for tutoring, to improve motivation. To ensure that starting offering apprenticeships is not happening due to the lack of information the Estonian Employers' Confederation has taken serious measures to promote the opportunities of work-place learning to entrepreneurs by organizing briefings and will soon open a specialized web-page, to where all relevant information will be gathered,“ added Tamsar.
59 per cent of the responded companies admitted that there is a constant or frequent lack of qualified employees. Third of the companies are facing the problem occasionally. Entrepreneurs are also investing to the future employees themselves – more than half of the responders have a co-operation with a provider of vocational or higher education on the development of the institutions’ curricula.
There were 92 companies responding to the questionnaire by the Estonian Employers' Confederation. Most of them are manufacturing, wholesale and retail or construction industries.
Work-place learning, also called apprenticeship, is a form of vocational education, where at least 2/3 of the training is done by practical work in companies and the rest in school. The training is done according to the curriculum. Student is carrying out tasks provided by a tutor, which help one to achieve the learning outcomes specified in the curriculum.
At June 2016 there was 937 students participating in work-place learning programs. The most apprentices studied in the fields of medical and social services, followed by commerce and tourism, HORECA and hospitality industries. In the manufacturing industry the most apprentices were studying the fields of mechanics and metalworking. There are more than 40 different apprenticeship programs in 23 vocational schools.
The poll was carried out through programs of “Development of practical learning system in vocational and higher education, including practical training for teachers” and “Raising the reputation of vocational education, growth of work-place learning” (PRÕM) within the framework of activity 8.2 “Prioritizing practical learning in the society”. The poll was financed by the European Social Foundation, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Estonian Employers' Confederation.
Summary of the poll can be found HERE.