3.3 Skills forecasting
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Since 1995 the Lithuanian Labour Exchange has been annually carrying out labour market forecasts for the upcoming years. The methodology of the labour market forecasting was created jointly with the experts of the Swedish National Labour Market Board and is based on the results of the employer surveys conducted in September/or October. Since 1997 the Labour Exchange has been annually issuing publications “Labour Market Forecast” and since 2003 it has been issuing “Barometer of Opportunities of Getting a Job”.
Several independent studies on graduates have been carried out by different bodies. The Ministry of Finance commissioned a study on the successful integration of university graduates into the labour market and its determinants, which lasted from May 2009 to May 2010. The Institute for Labour and Social Research carried out two studies on graduate progression paths in 2003 and 2004, both based on surveys of graduates and employers. In addition, two more specialised studies were conducted on the situation of specialists with higher education (2005/06) and law graduates in the labour market (2007/08). Here too, graduates and employers were questioned. The Public Policy and Management Institute (PPMI) carried out a study on ‘Competencies of graduates of Master studies and the needs of the Lithuanian economy‘, commissioned by the Science Council of Lithuania. It analysed the labour market integration of students who graduated between 2001 and 2005. The PPMI conducted a second study in 2010 in which 2 500 graduates were surveyed. They were questioned about matters such as employment prospects, their opinions on the knowledge and experience gained during their studies, and their salary and career progression.
Research and higher education monitoring and analysis centre (MOSTA) is a state budgetary institution, an analytical and advisory body that draws up recommendations on the development of the national higher education systems, performs monitoring function, analyses the state of the Lithuanian education system, and participates in the development and implementation of research, education and innovation policies.
Since 2010, information on the courses of study chosen by students has been collected and processed in a central national level student tracking database called the ‘Register of Students‘. The data is used to track the skills and career progression paths of students during their life-courses. The Register of Students has been commissioned by Statistics Lithuania and the Ministry of Education and Science. It contains information on the prior education of students, their courses of study (e.g. course changes, dropouts and final degrees) and socio-economic characteristics. Data is regularly provided by higher education institutions and aggregated, analysed and circulated by Statistics Lithuania and other statistical offices. The main aim is to collect reliable and up-to-date student data for decision-making bodies. The data also enables individual higher education institutions to draw conclusions about their student population. At present, the register is still at a developmental stage.
Individual universities also maintain their own student tracking databases. Several of them conduct graduate surveys but with no discernible common approach.
Lithuania was one of the first EU countries to develop entrepreneurship education strategies at the school level (OECD, 2015). The 2003 Lithuanian national education strategy explicitly notes the importance of entrepreneurship education. This led to the development of two specific strategies “Economic Literacy and Entrepreneurship Education” (2004) and the “National Programme of Youth Entrepreneurship Education and Encouragement 2008-2012” and most recently the National Action Plan on Entrepreneurship Promotion (2014-2020) which all aim to strengthen the focus on entrepreneurship and financial management at all school levels. At the primary education level in Lithuania, entrepreneurship is integrated within social sciences (i.e. “world discovery”) and also as part of the natural sciences; both of which are compulsory subjects (EACEA, 2012; OECD, 2015). This approach is rare because most countries take a cross-curricular approach that emphasises the transversal objectives of entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, the integration of entrepreneurship within core subject areas demonstrates a very high level of commitment to entrepreneurship teaching in Lithuania and ensures that a large number of young students are introduced to entrepreneurship (OECD, 2015).
At secondary level, “Economics and Entrepreneurship Education” (grades 9-10) is a compulsory subject in the Lithuanian curriculum. Entrepreneurship is also integrated into several compulsory subjects such as social sciences and maths, sciences, technology and ICT. In upper-secondary education, entrepreneurship is integrated in compulsory subjects (social sciences and maths-sciencestechnology- ICT) and is also an optional subject. Most programmes in secondary schools co-operate with Junior Achievement and through this co-operation, students learn core business management skills. Junior Achievement Lithuania (JAL) is a non-profit organisation of which the mission is to train youth in developing a free-market spirit, understanding of business and economics, leadership, entrepreneurship and initiative skills. Apart from building an entrepreneurial culture, the organisation helps to consolidate trust in entrepreneurs within society. It is part of Junior Achievement Worldwide (JAW), although it is not financially or structurally dependent from it. Therefore, it pursues an international practice with modern technology in which theory is complemented with practical activities. JAL is conscious about the importance of context for entrepreneurship and, therefore, has a licence from JAW to modify educating material according to Lithuania’s reality. Participation in their programmes is free for students. JAL has more than 150 business consultants that supplement teachers training, have edited more than 200 000 textbooks and reach more than 20 000 students each year (more than 200 000 from 1993 to 2014) in schools within different towns. JAL programmes are taught in 40% of the secondary schools (EACEA, 2012). JAL organises workshops for teachers of all subjects in economics and entrepreneurship aspects (3 000). JAL has a clear division of their programmes in: financial literacy (economics, investment competition, and computer simulation), career development (shadowing an employee, leadership) and entrepreneurship (company and start-up programme, summer camps, business competitions for students of grades 9-12.). The programmes on entrepreneurship aim to promote students’ capabilities such as: creative thinking, teamwork, solving of real problems and accountability to achieve their goals. They have evaluated these programmes observing that JAL graduates are better prepared for work, get easier a promotion and more often create their own business.
There is a general consensus that the vocational training (VET) system needs improvement in Lithuanian, which has led to the drafting of the development of the Action Plan for the Development of Vocational Education and Training 2014-2016 which was approved in 2014 (SMM, 2014) . One of the main provisions of this plan is to strengthen the work-based learning (including apprenticeship type of VET organisation). This creates an opportunity to improve entrepreneurship training in VET because work-based learning (including apprenticeship type VET organisation) can be used to provide experience learning about business management and entrepreneurship through active learning.
In Lithuania, entrepreneurship is generally not included in higher education programmes outside of business schools. The National Programme for Higher Education 2013-2020 (SMM, 2013) focuses on the importance of developing job-specific competences in research and educational institutions and on career guidance to help students make a conscious and informed choice of the study and career paths. Implicitly this would include entrepreneurship. However, in practice there is little evidence that higher education institutions are systematically promoting and supporting entrepreneurship (OECD, 2015).
Teachers receive substantial support and training. In Lithuania, implementation guidelines and learning outcomes for entrepreneurship education are included in national curricula and methodological material is available for teachers. These guidelines and materials are the primary support that teachers receive (EACEA, 2012). In addition, Junior Achievement has prepared entrepreneurship textbooks and has trained approximately 3 000 teachers (out of 40 000 teachers). Moreover, the Action Plan for Entrepreneurship for 2014-2020 includes measures to increase the competences of teachers, especially those of vocational education.
Entrepreneurship training outside of formal education is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. Junior Achievement is the most important organisation in providing entrepreneurship training outside of formal education in Lithuania. It adapts international practices to the Lithuanian context, stimulating entrepreneurship through initiatives such as company programmes where students manage their own firms for one year, assuming risks but with lower requirements than normal companies. It also offers simulations, summer camps and innovation camps. In addition, a number of business associations are active in supporting youth entrepreneurship through mentoring, business counselling, delivering seminars and hosting internships to help youth acquire entrepreneurship skills and develop industry contacts (e.g. Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, Business Employers’ Confederation, Youth Business Club). INVEGA, a public loan guarantees institution established under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, operates one of the most important entrepreneurship supports in Lithuania, the Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund, which provides micro-credit that includes a training offer to financing recipients. Business training (up to 72 hours) and business consultancy (up to 50 hours) are provided to clients by Credit Unions. Youth (up to the age of 29) are one of the key target groups of this programme.