22nd June 2015
During their stay in Poland, LLL-Hub partners had the chance to participate the expert debate “Qualifications at the start” which was co-organised by our partner WUP and Krakow Technology Park as part of the Malopolska Day of Learning. The debate dealt with three key issues. 1) Start-ups and modern business, 2) The role of new technologies (between science and entrepreneurship), 3) Competences and the labour market.
This conference brought together VET and adult education centres, entrepreneurship centres and start up incubators, labour employment offices, companies, ministries and regional authorities as well as universities. The goal of the event was to contribute to the development of new opportunities and conditions to use competences, for instance in relation to science and technology, and to formulate policy recommendations on the competences needed. Reforms in Poland aim to improve youth employment by fostering vocational education and by encouraging entrepreneurs to work with young people to inform them about potential careers. Research has been conducted on competence’s needs as part of the definition of the strategy “Smart city of Krakow” where entrepreneurship is a strong element. Less than 10% of young people want to start up a business, the percentage decreases even more for adults. The Central Bank of Poland is supporting an initiative on financial education as this is missing in education systems.
Participants shared the view that pupils/students need to obtain transversal competences such as multi-tasking, flexibility, communication (English) and resilience and that these competences are not always taught in schools. They also discussed the need to increase the interest of young people to start up a business. The necessary financial support as well as guidance/mentoring to support entrepreneurs was also raised (i.e. incubators). New technologies represent an emerging opportunity for young people as launching a start up in the field is less investment intensive. The need to develop validation mechanisms to assess learning taking place in the work place was raised as it could also contribute to recognise such competences.
The difficulty is to ensure that all citizens develop a more entrepreneurial mindset. The problem of isolated and rural areas, of disadvantaged groups was pointed at as this requires overcoming mental barriers as well as economic ones. It is important to provide them with models, for example by asking company owners to share their experience in classrooms. Specific programmes should be developed in that respect.
Participants also stressed the importance of learning mobility as it enables to take people out of their context. It also contributes to developing social, intercultural and civic competences. More placements and internships should be possible during formal education because it important to support “learning by doing”. More dialogue should take place between companies and educational institutions.