One of the quality indicators that a vocational school or practical training center is working qualitatively, i.e. prepares responsible and knowledgeable future workers is the feedback of employers.
Like many other schools, Vilnius Tourism and Commerce school has been conducting surveys of social partners and employers for many years.
The survey of Lithuanian employers’ satisfaction with the skills and competences of vocational education graduates shows that:
Almost a quarter of employers cooperate with vocational training institutions for the training of their specialists or for the improvement of their qualifications.
The most popular form of cooperation is providing the learners with the practice place or the admission of students as apprentices, but the percentage of apprenticeships in 2017–2018 made up 1.7 percent of all VET learners. This may signal that this form is unacceptable among Lithuanian employers and students.
28 percent of employers who participated in the Lithuanian research have indicated that they have employed graduates from vocational education institutions for the last 5 years.
This is more often the case with companies that support collaboration with these educational institutions. Similarly, larger companies and employers in the manufacturing sector are more likely to employ skilled workers.
Part of the employers are involved in the assessment of learners ‘competences, as consultants in the preparation of exam tasks and members of examination commissions.
Employers also contribute to other educational activities – reading reports, conducting seminars, helping to organize student visits to companies.
The employers value professional competences of the graduates of vocational training institutions, their readiness for work activities, on the other hand, they stressed that there is a lack of such entrepreneurial skills such as motivation (28%) and responsibility (10%).
Employers appreciate the ability of skilled workers to express their spoken and written thoughts fluently in native language and to communicate with clients. Computer literacy (IT, digital skills) is one of the most appreciated aspects of training.
Relatively worst evaluated soft skills of graduates are emotional intelligence, work related stress management, autonomy.
Employers indicate the following possible stress sources at work for a new employee:
Inadequate level of professional knowledge and skills (“do not know, are not able to … and stress”).
Lack of communication skills (“young people in general have a barrier to speak because they live in virtual reality”)
Adaptive support by the company (“depending on how the new employee is admitted (or not) in the company”).
Recently, there has been an increasing willingness of employers to cooperate with vocational training institutions.
Employers in their employee satisfaction surveys have noticed that most of the employees who work for years have wanted to upgrade their professional competences. Employees are very interested in the newly developed curriculum, which is more flexible, less time-consuming and provides the opportunity to study not the whole program, but only the required modules.
A promising trend is that employers want to improve the qualification of employees in VET schools and sectoral training centers.
Taking all into consideration, only close cooperation between VET institutions and employers can ensure the quality of training of young professionals.