Three of government ministries, i.e. Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Education and Science, are actively implementing various adult education programmes for specific target groups.
During planning period 2007-2013, within the framework of national programme Human Resources and Employment, there has been support for different adult education activities.
Implemented by the State Employment AgencyLifelong Learning Activities for the Employed was to promote employment and increase accessibility to lifelong learning activities. The Ministry of Welfare implemented the project over the entire territory of Latvia. Target groups included persons older than 45 and those within the age group 25 to 44, on the condition that the person had special needs or the person had two or more children, or if the person had the status of the needy or with income below subsistence level. The project was implemented from 2010 to 31st December 2014, involving 11 512 persons from Rīga region, 3 371 persons from Vidzeme region, 4 408 persons from Kurzeme region, 4 143 persons from Zemgale region and 4 549 persons from Latgale region.
Ministry of Economics provided for other target groups during that planning period. The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (IDAL) is a direct administrative institution subordinated to the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia. Since the end of 2010 IDAL has been implementing state support programmes for enhancing competitiveness of enterprises. The most important of them was training programme Support to training of the employed to enhance competitiveness of enterprises - support to training for the employed of partner companies. This was the first call designed to promote investment in human resources, as well as direct participation in labour force qualification, thus contributing to labour productivity, labour market and promoting business and raising economic competitiveness. Programme was targeted at different beneficiaries (project partner companies) to receive funding for training employees of different companies with similar needs of investment in human resources. Within the framework of the activity support was offered to associations of employers uniting at least five enterprises. Project applicants were the main partners responsible for project implementation and appointed by mutual agreement of partners.
Second call was organized by the IDAL in cooperation with sectoral associations, and its aim was to improve the qualification of general labour force by organizing training of employees. Projects were submitted by 14 sectoral associations, the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Entrepreneurs and training providers were involved in the implementation of the project. 60-80% of training costs were covered by European Social Fund. Projects are still in implementing process. Within the framework of the activity support could be received by associations which had been registered in the Enterprise Register of associations and foundations. During the 3 years since the project's inception in 2011, the project involved 1241 industry and other technology companies, with 3764 different training courses organised within the framework and 37696 employees trained (20170 unique participants).
Third call was organized by the IDAL in cooperation with Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LICTA) - an important stakeholder dealing with skills of ICT professionals. LICTA is a professional association founded in 1998 and encompassing over 80 important ICT product and service providers and educational institutions as well as about 100 individual members of ICT sector in Latvia. The principal objective of LICTA is to promote and further the development of information society in Latvia, so that all citizens may be given the opportunity to benefit from ICT and contribute to a knowledge-based economy. LICTA works toward increasing e-awareness in society by organizing conferences and educational endeavours and takes an active part in preparing professional study programmes for ICT specialists.
LICTA is implementing two training projects for ICT industry. The first of them is titled ICT Industry and Training Partners in Innovative Technology and Business Development aimed at training employees of this area in using most recent technologies in the field of ICT and business development. 60-80% of training costs were covered by European Social Fund. During the three years since the project's start in 2011, the project has been involving 46 industry and other technology companies, with 702 different training courses organised and 3140 employees trained. Second training project is titled ICT Training for Small and Micro Businesses to Promote Competitiveness and Productivity. Project’s aim was to raise productivity and efficiency of micro enterprises and SMEs by increasing employee’s qualifications and skills in ICT. During the two years since the project's start in 2012, it involved 890 industry and other technology companies, with 3764 different training courses organised and 4643 employees trained.
Provision to raise achievement in basic skills
The concept of basic skills includes such skills as literacy, numeracy, ICT, foreign languages, social, organizational and communication skills, technological culture and entrepreneurship and traditionally these skills have been offered in non-formal education. Provision for basic skills offers opportunities for personal development and also cultural enrichment.
Participation in non-formal education does not involve special admission procedures; also, no formal documents for course completion are issued to participants.
Ministry of Welfare has been implementing European Social Foundation project Lifelong Learning Activities for the Employed since 2010. Table below shows the preference of adults for the choice of non-formal basic skills programmes as provided for by the Ministry of Welfare. 175 education institutions with both non-formal and vocational programmes have participated in programme’s implementation till the end of 2014. In the time period 2010-2014 8 904 adults, or 32%, from the total number of adults involved in learning acquired professional upskilling courses, and 19 079 persons, or 68%, participated in non-formal education modules.
Non-formal and basic skills programmes closely correlate. English is the most popular course chosen by 7 960 adults, or 42% of all learning adults, in addition to 5 047 persons or 26%, who had chosen to acquire basic English in non-formal education.
Provision to achieve a recognised qualification during adulthood
State Employment Agency implemented activities under the ESF project Vocational Training for Persons Subject to Unemployment Risk. Project’s objective was to reduce the risk of unemployment and increase competiveness of employed persons whose working hours had been reduced due to economic crisis or globalization factors, creating opportunities to get professional qualification or improve professional skills in accordance with the changes in labour market demand. The project was implemented in 2009-2010.
The target group involved employees at risk of unemployment (except persons working in state and municipal’ enterprises) whose working hours were reduced due to the economic crisis or globalization factors and whose sustainable job preservation could be promoted by vocational training related to their profession.
The programme welcomed applicants who had been employed in part-time job longer than 6 months or whose working hours have been reduced at least 1 month prior to the involvement in the programme; whose employer has written confirmation of the employee's working time reduction and need for training.
The project offered further vocational training programmes (voucher value up to 500 LVL (ca. 711 EUR)) and vocational development training programmes (voucher value up to 300 LVL (ca. 427 EUR)).
Certain conditions were applied to the participation in the programme: participant had the right to choose the educational institution and training programme; maximum period of vocational training was up to 6 months; the State Employment Agency provided individual grants of 70 LVL (100 EUR) per calendar month; if the selected training programme’s costs exceeded the amount covered by the Agency, person or his employer should pay the difference.
The project was implemented by applying a method of training vouchers.
The number of participants who took part in the programme – 5 887 (202 people suspended training).
|Region||Number of involved persons|
Source: Ministry of Welfare
|Sector||Number of involved persons|
|Wholesale and retail trade, auto repair services||1676|
|Accommodation and food services||415|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||333|
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries||347|
|Transportation and storage||180|
|Information and communication services||148|
|Operations with real estate||116|
|Administrative and support services||108|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||108|
|Financial and insurance activities||83|
|Health and social care||67|
|Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply||66|
|Mining and quarrying||15|
Source: Ministry of Welfare
In accordance with Regulations On Guidelines for Inclusive Employment 2015 – 2020 it has been decided to start a pilot project supporting those employed persons who have the risk of unemployment for their requalification or improvement of professional competences. The institution responsible for the project implementation is the Ministry of Welfare.
Provision targeting the transition to the labour market
State support is directed to the job-related education and covers the support for unemployed persons, job seekers and employees mainly provided by the State Employment Agency of the Ministry of Welfare. The Law on Support for the Unemployed Persons and Persons Seeking Employment envisages list of support activities for such individuals, such as qualification upgrading for the unemployed to acquire skills necessary in labour market; activities for raising competitiveness and basic skills as well as activities for certain groups of individuals, especially persons with special needs.
During the planning period 2007-2013 a programme titled Employability was elaborated within the programme framework Human Resources and Employability. It was aimed at supporting the achievement of political targets related to employment. The sub-programme Training of the unemployed and job seekers was aimed at increasing competitiveness of the unemployed providing for the adaptation in the changing labour market.
For persons participating in free-of-charge non-formal education programmes offered by the State Employment Agency, the admission requirement is to have a registered unemployed person status. This admission requirement is not applicable to the education voucher system in which any adult may participate.
There are no common admission requirements for other job-related non-formal education programmes. Providers of these programmes can determine specific admission requirements if necessary.
Ten most popular professional up-skilling programmes for persons at risk of unemployment marked a tendency to learn English - 2 317 persons, or 26%, and programmes related to accountancy – 999 people, or 11%. Another popular programme was work safety as shown in Figure below:
Source: the Ministry of Welfare
Provision of liberal (popular) adult education
There are folk schools and Art and Craft Centres which provide liberal education or interest-related (hobby) education as it is called in Latvia. Non-job related non-formal education is based on a personal interest in self-development and includes activities fostering talents and potential, enhancing life quality and contributing to the realization of personal intentions and aspirations. Many education institutions, private companies and individuals specialize in such education provision. Non-formal adult education programmes are commonly self-financed. Upon completion of a non-formal education programme the learner may receive a certificate which testifies to subject, date and the fact of participation, however issuing of it is not a mandatory requirement for non-formal education providers. Non-formal education certificates are not recognized by the state, and their value is mainly determined by provider’s reputation and further practical application of skills and knowledge obtained at the programme.
Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners
Ministry of Education and Science has implemented several projects to upgrade teaching skills, in-service training and up-skilling.
ESF project Further education of general education teachers was implemented from 2010 to 2013. During the project 39 teacher professional competence development programmes (including teaching materials' sets) were elaborated and 57 such programmes were provided.
The goal of the project was to increase the professional competences of teachers in general education and upgrading of skills in relation to the provision of state-of-the-art teaching process, change to innovative and knowledge-based society by developing in-service training programmes, teaching materials, preparing teacher trainers and implementing courses for teachers. 22 183 teachers have improved their professional competences during the lifetime of this project.