Tertiary education


16 - Lithuania - Educational/vocational guidance, education/employment links

Lithuania is attributed to the group of European countries where employment opportunities for young people are highly dependent on the education obtained. In Lithuania, the level of employment among graduates with higher education is high, especially among graduates of recent years who have completed study programmes that are in demand and are orientated toward the new needs of the changing economy and labour market of the country.

According to the data provided by the Department of Statistics at the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, in 2005 the unemployed with a higher education accounted for 11% of the total number of the unemployed. The data obtained from the Lithuanian Labour Exchange indicate that in 2005 and 2006 about 7 – 8% of all the HEI graduates respectively were registered in labour exchanges (cf. to 2002, when out of the total number of unemployed persons registered in territorial labour exchanges there were 2.6 thousand persons with a higher education (12.6%)). University graduates find it easier to get a job and they are more readily given a better-paid post than college graduates. This is particularly true of those holding a Master’s degree. The majority of those registered in the labour exchange are pre-school and primary education, business administration and management, and humanities specialists. The greatest demand is for specialists in the fields of informatics and information systems, Western European languages, psychology and counseling, certain fields of management, and economics.

Most higher education institutions have established their own career centres, which provide to their students general career guidance and individual counseling, offer trainings on employment issues, help students to find a job and employers to hire the right candidates. In 2006, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Lithuanian Union of Students’ Representations carried out a fact-finding survey in higher education institutions with the aim of ascertaining the character of activities the centres undertake, students’ attitude to the activities carried out by the career centres, and the possibilities of their further development. For example, the career centre set up in Vilnius University has already signed cooperation agreements with almost all the counties of Lithuania. In the centre, businesspersons will offer jobs and the university will offer its graduates to potential employers. Among the activities the career centre is engaged in are career fairs or career days during which students gain more information about the needs and tendencies of the labour market and learn to understand the requirements employers expect university students and graduates to meet, information and knowledge-enhancement seminars, which provide students with a possibility to receive counselling on the relevant career-related issues like job search, document preparation, stress management, preparation for a job interview. The centre organizes study visits and provides information on the on-going seminars or conferences.

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Integration and Career Office is a subdivision responsible for in-service training and re-qualification, continuous studies, professional guidance, career development monitoring, assistance in job search, and coordination between the university and external institutions. The main objective of the Office is to promote cooperation between the university, enterprises and government agencies in the spheres related to counselling, expert work, participation in programmes, in-service training and re-qualification of specialists, student guidance and placement of graduates. The Office has developed an Internet job search system, which provides information to students on job vacancies according to the fields of study.

Similar services are provided by the Youth Labour Centres established at the city and regional labour exchanges. They offer open information, consulting, professional information and guidance services to young people, organize interaction with the labour market and social partners, develop youth employment initiative projects, organize various events (occupational clubs, professional guidance events, trainings) and prepare informative-methodological materials.

Another sphere of activities orientated to two objectives is promoting cooperation between HEIs and employers by including employers in the governance bodies (councils) of HEIs and by encouraging their more active involvement in the process of quality assurance, both internal and external. Recently, the representatives of industrialists and employers have more often undertaken initiative to influence the development of specialists in higher education institutions expecting a result they need, i.e. not only development of specialists but also a high quality of their development. Consolidated in higher education strategic documents, this tendency deserves encouragement as involvement of employers into the system of higher education, apart from other advantages, may prove to be an additional alternative source of funding higher education. HEIs, too, seek orientation toward the needs of labour market and, in developing new study programmes, they take into consideration the lack of specialists in certain fields or the changing demands of the labour market. With a need of certain specialists established, the Ministry may approve targeted study programmes. To alleviate the shortage of IT specialists, special long-term programmes were approved (2002–2004). After Lithuania’s accession to the EU, the country faced an increasing shortage of translators/interpreters, which necessitated new programmes as well as improvement of the quality of their development. These tendencies also add to better opportunities of employment for the future HEI graduates. It is not infrequent that students know in advance what their future job placement is going to be or they start their working career before completing their higher education.

In preparing specialists, colleges Kolegija orientate their programmes to the needs of the labour market and to practical application of the knowledge acquired. In the course of studies attention is focused on practice placements and the links with the world of work.

Colleges are members of various associations, they cooperate with other institutions of higher education and maintain relations with social partners.

Vilnius Gediminas Technical University

Eurydice - the information network on education in Europe

Date: 2009

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