During the last decade, significant reforms have taken place in the system of Estonian vocational education, and thanks to European Union’s resources, considerable investments have been made in that field. For better planning the future development of Estonia’s vocational education system, feedback from the employers about the results of the efforts made so far is needed.

The closer the collaboration between enterprises and schools, the better the opinion of these enterprises on vocational education.” – Mihkel Nestor

Entrepreneurs are willing to give the final touch to the graduates’ specialized skills, but not to their social attitudes. The state is expected to intervene more in designing students’ educational choices: increasing the popularity of vocational training, students’ motivation, and the level of transferable skills. For the near future, enterprises consider deepening labour shortage and pressure for wage rises as the main problems for Estonian labour market.

For entrepreneurs, the main reasons for not finding enough suitable employees among vocational education graduates are the expertise levels of the graduates that do not correspond to the enterprises’ needs, and low reputation of the jobs among graduates. Entrepreneurs also point out that the wages offered do not attract the graduates, nor are there enough of those graduating the necessary speciality.

Employers are satisfied with the youths’ ability to adapt and their willingness to develop and study further, also with the improved learning environment, and with taking on trainees overall. Employers also support the method of job-based studying but find that it should be compensated by the state.

The attitudes and social maturity of the youths going to vocational education schools continue to be an issue for the employers, as there is lack of youths’ ability of discretion, speciality skills, and spoken languages. The main problem in the collaboration between schools and enterprises comes in the form of deficient initiative on both sides.

Policy suggestions:

  • More efficient informing of employers
  • Active and attractive notification about the opportunities and benefits of vocational education
  • Improvement of the quality and accessibility of career services
  • More attention on shaping students’ social attitudes
  • Flexible short-term schooling courses for grown-ups