BICA developed innovative instrumentary to increase to increase the attractiveness of keywords professions for bulgarian economy

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“There is a devaluation of higher education – a large quantity, low quality and inconsistency of a plan – accepting needs,” said Vasil Velev, chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), which developed tools to increase the attractiveness of important for Bulgarian professions. As part of it, BICA prepared a strategy and plan with specific measures and pilot models to enhance the attractiveness of professions in the Mechanical and Metal Processing, Electrical and Electronics, Transport and Spedition and Beauty and Health Medicine and Services sectors, , a module for promoting mobility, and a model for objective assessment of labor productivity. “The problem with human resources is very acute and comes first in business surveys as barriers to investment, growth in sales and a staple of economic growth as a whole, hence of living standards,” Mr. Velev stressed. The aim of the developed instruments is to solve one of the main problems on the labor market – the lack of skilled persons for key areas of the Bulgarian economy such as machine building, electronics and electrical engineering, healthcare, etc. This became clear today after a working meeting between representatives of AICB, the European Commission, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Employment Agency, the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training and representatives of industry employers’ and trade union federations from the four pilot sectors.

The toolkit was developed under project BG05M9OP001-1.011 – 0002 “Achieving sustainable and quality employment by improving the attractiveness of professions with low labor market supply in key sectors for the development of the Bulgarian economy”. More than 80 experts took part in its development.

The main measure to solve the problems of the labor market were the active inclusion of employers in the improvement of the quality of education at secondary vocational schools and higher education institutions. Representatives of the business believe that by annually updating curricula, improving the structure of the plan-adopting, increasing the practical applicability of the education system, and providing scholarships, they will be able to create and develop a lasting interest in the majors of the economy.

Among the factors which influence the attractiveness of professions and motivation were flexible working hours, proximity to work, pay, vocational trainings, topicality of the profession, working conditions, stability and security of employment, social prestige of the profession, etc. In order to improve the attractiveness of the deficit professions, state institutions, employers and trade unions will have to develop practical tools and measures as soon as possible.

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“The link between business and education for us is very important. However, targeting children to vocational education should not only be a task for employers’ organizations but for our society as a whole. We must break our thinking and appreciate the work, as each profession has its place and meaning for the country’s economic development. We hope that the Ministry of Education and Science will support the proposed mirror project in the field of education, which will implement the measures outlined in the other target groups – students and their families, “said Milena Angelova, the Project leader.

The Chairwoman of the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training Emiliana Dimitrova has expressed her readiness to consider the possibility of incorporating some of the models and measures for enhancing the attractiveness of the professions in the State Educational Standards as well as their use in their future work.

“The project has a very broad partner base and this is its strongest side. One of the main European objectives is to make vocational education the first choice for children. Among the problems we have to deal with is the high percentage of Roma children who drop out of the education system – 67%, and then about ¼ of the Roma drop out of the labor market. The role of the European Social Fund is extremely important for the realization of precisely such projects, which are of great importance for the improvement of the social and economic situation in Bulgaria, “said European Commissioner Dora Krumova.

The Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association has set as its main priority the coping with the shortage of qualified personnel. So far, BIC has made a number of proposals to the Ministry of Education and Science for a complete reform of the way of financing higher education and reform in the preparation of plan-adopters in secondary vocational education, introducing into the legal framework a methodology for creating a list of specialties from professions, for which there is an expected shortage, etc.