How can educators and businesses work together more closely? That was the question posed to a panel of experts at, 'The time to change: A look at Poland’s competitiveness on a global scale' event, co-hosted by Pearson and Lewiatan (the Polish Confederation of Private Employers conference), on Wednesday 24 November. Here’s what they had to say:
Dr. Maciej Bukowski, President of the Scientific Foundation's Structural Research Institute
In his presentation on the loss of European competitiveness in the global marketplace and the loss of Polish competitiveness in the European market, Dr Bukowski highlighted a lack of innovation within Polish and European businesses, as well as over-regulation and a lack of competition, as the main causes for a loss of competitiveness with the US. He cited the wholesale, retail, business, financial services and electronics industries as the biggest losers since 2000.
Horace Dębowski from the Institute for Educational Research
Mr. Dębowski added to Dr. Bukowski’s presentation by highlighting the skills gap between what employers want and the skills workers have, with 34% reporting a problem. Employers were most in need of people with technical, engineering, IT and sales skills, and also noted a lack of key transferable skills such as creativity, teamwork, and the ability to learn on the job. Mr. Dębowski suggested the solution to the problem is to develop a qualification system based on a qualifications framework, referring to learning outcomes.
Chris Locke, Product Director for Pearson Work Based Learning, and Andrzej Butra, Pearson Head of Regional Development in Central and Eastern Europe
Mr. Locke and Mr. Butra presented the proven benefits for employers of providing professional training to employees, namely increased motivation, lower absenteeism, lower turnover rates, increased corporate capabilities, and achieving standards of knowledge within the organisation - all of which lead to higher profits for the business as a whole. Achieving these benefits, Mr. Locke argued, requires an environment that encourages and facilitates employers to develop the professional skills of their employees. This needs to be facilitated at government level, with tax incentives, support for infrastructure development and legal changes.
The conference ended with a debate on, 'How to achieve successful cooperation between businesses and educators', which was led by Margaret Rusewicz, Director of the Department of Social Dialogue and Labour Relations in Lewiatan, and attended by Jeremi Mordasewicz (Advisor to Lewiatan’s board), Luke Mlost (HR Manager for Deloitte), Chris Locke (Director of Pearson Products for Work Based Learning) and Witold Bielecki (Rector of Kozminski University).
All the panellists agreed that the key to providing more effective education for employment is to reduce the gap between employers, the state and educators, allowing them collaboratively to develop a consistent approach to training employees.