Rain Leoma: What could Ukrainians study in Estonian vocational schools? | Opinion

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It depends on three refugees: the general impact of Russian aggression on the economy; the number and skills of refugees; and how many Ukrainians will choose to stay in Estonia after the war ends, Leoma continues in an article originally published on the educational portal Õpetajate Leht (link in Estonian).

OSKA labor demand forecasts were prepared in the so-called medium-term perspective, looking ahead to 7-10 years, and currently the arrival of Ukrainian refugees has not changed our forecasts . The areas where the need for additional manpower will be most needed over the next decade are ICT, health, social work, various industries and education (especially science teachers).

However, it should be taken into account that working with a higher skill level usually also requires a high level of Estonian language proficiency.

OSKA’s labor demand forecasts have been prepared with a medium-term perspective, so to speak – the seven- to ten-year perspective – and so far the arrival of Ukrainian refugees does not has not changed our forecasts.

Areas where additional manpower will be most needed over the next decade are ICT, health, social work, various industries and education (especially science teachers).

However, it should also be taken into account that working at a higher skill level usually also requires a high skill level in the Estonian language.

At the level of vocational education, additional staff are needed in the field of social work. According to forecasts, the number of people employed there will increase by almost 20% by 2030, the need for additional maintenance staff is the greatest.

A recent OSKA survey revealed that social work employers take a predominantly positive attitude towards the involvement of foreign workers, while at the same time emphasizing the need to be able to communicate well with older people and people with special needs, in their mother tongue.

Fluency in Estonian is also a requirement of the standards of the professional body for social workers.

Added to this is a shortage of vocational training graduates who could fill vacant positions in the manufacturing sector. Electricity and energy, electronics and automation, mechanics and metallurgy are studied too little. More specialists in printing technology, multimedia and carpentry are also needed in the job market.

At the same time, graduates in construction specialties are also needed; technical building systems, building construction and road construction could all be studied.

One specialty that might not be recommended for Ukrainians is that of seamstress or tailor. Although it is quite easy to find such jobs in Estonia, the salary level is rather low and in the long run these jobs will leave Estonia. By working as a seamstress, there is a fairly high risk of future poverty or job loss.

A higher education option for Ukrainians who wish to link their long-term (professional) life in Estonia is the study of ICT. This specialty also appears in vocational level education, and the working language is often English, in addition to Estonian.

For those returning to Ukraine, it might be viable to continue working for Estonian companies, via remote work. Forecasts indicate that more than 18,000 ICT specialists, or about 2,600 new employees per year, will be needed in the field by 2027. With ICT skills, jobs can be found anywhere.

The OSKA site in English is here.

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