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The National Centre for Education (hereinafter also referred to as the NCE) organizes vocational mastership competitions as a support measure for improvement of students' personality, skills and talents. Since 2002, NCE has been organizing a competition of business plans for students of institutions of vocational education. The competition is supported by business experts recognised in Latvia, successful enterprises and professional organisations, for instance SEB Bank, Swedbank, Europe Direct Information Centre, the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Urban Economy Department of Local Municipalities, Business Incubator, etc.
The aim of the competition is to facilitate the development of student's business skills and their interest about entrepreneurship, to improve business plan development skills of students, to acquire experience in development, presentation of a business plan and defending one's viewpoint, as well as to promote cooperation among teachers of institutions of vocational education, students and business partners and familiarisation with good practice examples.
Likewise, since 2006, the Duke of Edinburgh's International Youth Award programme has been implemented in Latvia that promotes youth employment, social inclusion, as well as participation (see also Chapter 4.4), and the pupil-lead training enterprise programme is actively implemented in schools (see Chapter 3.8).
Pupil-Led Training Enterprise programme (PTE) described in Chapter 3.9 is also a recognised and implemented teaching method in Latvia. For pupils, it is an opportunity to acquire skills to establish and manage an enterprise, develop products and offer them to potential customers through actual work. On average, 22% of graduates of the programme have already engaged in business.
The Employers' Confederation of Latvia (ECL) in cooperation with its strategic partner, portal Prakse.lv provides any company with an opportunity of attracting trainees and giving their own recommendations and evaluations regarding the educational institutions and study programmes that are attended by future professionals. A young person, who has commenced studies in any profession, can soon become a young specialist. In order for the visions of employers, educational institutions and young people in Latvia to be unified, it is important for all interested parties to act together. Therefore, Prakse.lv provides an opportunity to exchange opinions, for employers – to find trainees with the potential of becoming a full-fledged employees, for young people – to get acquainted with the work environment in practice, to accumulate practical knowledge and to develop career in the selected branch. Finally, the cooperation among employers and youth may give worthy recommendations to educational establishments as to what exactly employees expect from potential specialists. Prakse.lv has been operating since 2008, and it is the largest career counsellor in Latvia. It is a platform where thousands of young people contact employers daily, in order to agree on the possibilities of traineeship and work. The aim of the portal is to help young people find options for traineeship and work possibilities, but for the enterprises – find the most talented young people. More than 78,700 young people, almost 4,000 employers and around 1,000 educational institutions have registered there. The portal is developed and maintained by the ECL's strategic partner – SIA “Prakse.lv“. The mission of the portal is to prepare the young generation of Latvia for the requirements of the modern labour market, thus facilitating their successful integration in the economic life of Latvia and the world.