The future of the company is determined by finding people with the necessary skills or at least the will to learn. Enterprises in Tartu and Southern Estonia are in need of middle level specialists, most of all, workers in the fields of mechanics and metalworking, electronics and control engineering, electrical engineering and energetics, materials processing, construction, and logistics are needed. Unfortunately, there are shortcomings in organizing providing professional higher education. This means that supply and demand of specialists with technical training need to be balanced, and shows the importance of cooperation between enterprises and educational institutions. This study deals with possible solutions to this situation.
“Not enough labour force with suitable technical qualification is being prepared.” – Tiina Annus
Attention should be paid not only on teaching specialized skills, but also various transferable skills, for working life needs the combination of technical, personal, and social skills as well as the right attitudes. Technical skills can be defined as basic work skills, techniques, ability to use different tools, etc. Personal skills include initiative, ability to organize, courage to make decisions, and so on. Persons can be said to have social skills if they can respect others, communicate with different people, and participate in team work. The right attitudes to further work are the wish to learn, continually develop one’s skills and knowledge, self evaluation, acceptance of changes, etc.
The opportunities for specialization in technical fields should correspond more to the needs of the enterprises, as should the number of student places. The fields of training added could be electronics, control engineering, electrical engineering, and energetics.
To rearrange professional higher education, the results of the study offer seven possibilities, each of them with their pros and cons. An education institution offering renewed professional higher education should be clear about its identity from the start and also give clear signals about who are expected to study there. It is also important to increase cooperation between education institutions and enterprises, and to ensure suitable qualification of the teachers.