Companies in Dobrich region have a great need for specialists, according to a study conducted between 10 April and 15 May by the good offices of the Bulgarian Industrial Association. 79% of respondents said they lacked close specialists and 50% had a shortage of managers. One third of entrepreneurs have declared readiness to hire staff from abroad.
The data were presented at the Business and Education Forum, organized by the Bulgarian Industrial Association and Dobrich Municipality. The discussion gathered representatives of companies from the region, directors of vocational high schools and other educational institutions in the region. The general problems of the labor market related to the skills and competencies of the workforce were presented. The forum was opened by the mayor of Dobrich Yordan Yordanov, who stressed that such discussions contribute to the symbiosis between education, business and local authorities.
“We are transitioning between the old economy and the new digital economy. The challenges are now related to the new quality of jobs, to the disappearing and emerging professions, to lifelong learning,” said Radosvet Radev, President of BIA.
“Even the best ideas of entrepreneurs can remain unfulfilled and even failed because of the lack of quality workers”, he added. According to him, the shortage of labor force in Bulgaria is currently 35%, compared to 7% in 2010.
Because of the deficits of vocational education, BIA insists that employers participate in curriculum development and assessment of training needs in different professions.
The educational system, besides its own conservatism, also brings aging teachers, BIA points out. In 2018, 50% of teachers were over 50 years old and in the next 10 years 50% of Bulgarian teachers would be retired.
Statistics also point to the gap between business and training demand that young people prefer. An example - 64% of the Bulgarian economy needs staff with technical engineering education, and those educated in such disciplines are only 27%.
Very worrying is also the data on how the graduates of vocational education are realized - only 20% of them start working on the qualification, 29% continue at the next level of education, 21% neither study nor work, and 30% start quite another job. With the regret of the forum, it was noted that the entrepreneurial spirit vanished and that it was no longer a prestigious way to study in a professional class.
During the discussion, good examples of dual learning were highlighted. An example is the partnership between the Vocational High School of Tourism in Dobrich and the Albena resort - a partnership that has been going on for 50 years under different forms and for four years under the DOMINO program.
The idea of BIA is that such discussion forums should be organized in other cities of the country.