According to the survey implemented by European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute in 2015, many university students are not satisfied with the knowledge and skills they gain during their studies. Majority of them would be willing to receive additional training in order to position themselves better in the labour market of today.
Employability for young person is a difficult and long process in Lithuania. This process is influenced by many social, cultural, economical and educational reasons, but one of the main reasons can be discerned – higher education is not focused on practical training sufficiently. After school graduation many young people seek higher education immediately. Then student come to the higher education institution and realize that there is a lot of quality knowledge and information, but there is little information which could be customizable in practice.
Aim of the Research: To analyze students’ attitude towards the higher education of Lithuania, the organization of practical training at the Universities and possibilities for the additional practice in institutions and companies.
Methodology: analysis of empirical research data, interviews, analysis of document, system analysis and generalization.
Objectives of the Research:
1. To figure out students’ opinion about higher education these days;
2. To analyze the students’ attitude to the opportunities for practice or volunteering;
3. To discuss the employers attitude towards the employees;
4. To compare Lithuanian and other countries higher education system.
In contemporary labour market, both students and employers highly evaluate practical competencies. In a rapidly changing world, student’s practical benefits of training are increasingly highlighted by employers and the students themselves. MOSTA (Science and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Center) conducted a survey of interested parties. (2014). It was found that the majority of graduates (86%), students (undergraduates – 80%, masters – 82%) and employers (82%) think that studies of higher education should focus on practical preparation of specialists. (See Chart No. 1).
European Social Entrepreneurship and Innovative Studies Institute implemented a survey where interviewed final year students from three different high schools in Lithuania.
The investigation has shown that 49.3% respondents are partially satisfied in the higher school foreground. The rest, 43.3% are completely satisfied and 7.2% are disappointed. Academics argue that their mission is to prepare researchers, wide-thinking citizens, and young people can study at vocational schools to narrow professional specialization. Mosta tried to identify the reasons why quality of higher education needs to be improved. A study has found that the majority of students, teachers and employers, administration believes that it is necessary to improve the quality of the studies, to focus on preparation for the profession, to improve the material base and improve the quality of teaching. (see Chart No. 2). This indicates that all interested parties, the labour market participants understand that the effective integration of young people into the labour market and the education system must be reorganized.
Unfortunately, for inexperienced Lithuanian young person it is really hard to get job. There is still high youth unemployment. According to the Statistics Department, youth unemployment rate 21.4 percent between 15 -24 years persons at the beginning of 2014.
In order to improve the situation it is essential to promote lifelong learning, to stimulate youth to gain more expertise and experiences. The training of new skills should be an integral part of the continuous improvement of practical skills. It is important to involve young people in non-formal educational activities such as trainings, internships. Only these activities can provide the opportunity to gain additional competencies, experiences and skills more easily. Institute survey showed that 45.1 % is involved in any volunteer activities or professional practice. This shows that nowadays, young people understand trends of the labour market and try to shape own career path.
To the question “Proposals that could improve the current situation in the Lithuanian labour market” many respondents answered that they could help employers indulgent attitude to young people without experience, and given employers more opportunities to practice with them, perhaps, the possibility of future employment. Young people are confident that such cooperation, employer attitude change, future generations growth would help young people improve their employability and entrench in the labour market. In order to ensure co-operation with employers, there are the point in Increasing Employment of the Republic of Lithuania 2014 – 2020: “In order to ensure quality, it is very important for young people to create favourable conditions to acquire the specific skills and knowledge in real conditions of work. To fulfil this condition the active involvement of employers is required.”
In many foreign countries, such as – Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, Finland and so on, many high schools propagate student-centered learning, which allows students to gain more experience and to adapt knowledge that is learned. In the meantime of Bologna process it was decided that all European countries should include problem-based learning at the Universities, it would make it easier for students to absorb the information and apply it in practice. Young people try to gain internship opportunities, if not during the lectures, then during volunteering or going abroad to study, to do internship or practice. Although Lithuania has received almost twice as much students who are leaving with Erasmus+ or other exchange programs for students, Lithuanian students are also trying to leave and take advantage of opportunities to gain experience in other countries. The State supports the idea of cosmopolitanism and encourages young people to leave and then, with a new ideas and competences, return to Lithuania to live and work.
It must be acknowledged that there is still not enough developing in non-formal education, employment and informally acquired competence recognition system. Therefore, young people often feel hesitant to take any activities because they believe that they can be underestimated. It is necessary to continue developing of non-formal education and encouraging learning, gaining practice, participating in various training activities, which would complement the personal skills of young people.