The vocational training and education roundtable of the 6th ND Forum focused on discussing the challenges of the Russian educational system from the business perspective. Both Russian and foreign companies are facing severe problems in finding skilled employees. Higher education has become “too popular” while vocational education is often considered an inferior option by the youngsters. In addition, the existing vocational education system does not provide the kind of training and professionals that the industries would need. The Russian educational system could e.g. take advice from the German system where vocational education is conducted in tight cooperation with companies.
Photo: Moderators Maxim Kiselev and Susanne Doenitz discussing with Veronika Chernysheva during the thematic round table ‘Vocational Education and Training’. Photo: AEB.
Some examples of successful cooperation models between businesses and education providers were also discussed. For example, the Finnish innovation platform Demola was mentioned as an innovative example of bringing together university students and companies to facilitate co-creation and collaboration in international networks. The Demola concept is based on cross-sectorial co-creation where multidisciplinary student teams work on real life challenges initiated by companies. Successful Russian cases include, for example, Skoltech’s industry immersion program where student get to take part in real-life product development projects through company internships. Companies are also supporting educational institutions by acquiring the needed equipment or offering grants to successful students and teachers in order to ensure the supply of skilled labor.
It was concluded that there continues to be the need to improve the attractiveness of vocational training and at the same time limit the number of university level students. Also, the connections between businesses and the educational institutions needs to be increased. International student mobility should also be supported.