Latvian Water and Wastewater Works Association (LWWWWA) and the Estonian Water Works Association (EVEL) are implementing the Erasmus+ program project “Development of vocational education in the environmental sector” which aims to prevent environmental pollution that can be caused by acute labour shortage in the water sector.
In both Latvia and Estonia, since the restoration of national independence, the water management sector has still not been assessed by the state governments and has not become strategically important. It is taken for granted, without paying enough attention to its maintenance, attraction of human resources and raising competence. Also the sustainable development of water sector is left on its own, mostly without any governmental support.
None of the national economy sectors or industries can exist without the water sector, while the water sector cannot exist without competent, creative, excellent and knowledgeable professionals.
An acute shortage professional young specialist in the water management sector will significantly affect the provision of water supply and sewage disposal and treatment services, which will harm the surrounding environment, causing pollution and increasing energy consumption. The release of untreated sewage into the environment, inappropriate collection of sewage, inappropriate preparation and supply of drinking water are just some of the potential problems that can occur due to insufficient and inappropriate manpower.
Mains tasks that will be faced in project are:
1. to develop the competence of teachers of vocational education institutions in the field of environmental sustainability by organizing and leading experience exchange seminars and trainings;
2. to promote the interest of managers of professional educational institutions in the provision of a future-oriented and in-demand educational program – the profession of an environmental technician;
3. to promote the development of a consolidated professional education standard that meets the needs of the industry and the implementation of corresponding curricula in professional education institutions;
4. to create a foundation for the development of a transnational network between representatives of the Latvian and Estonian water management sector and professional educational institutions, establishing new contacts and creating the potential for further and possibly wider scale cooperation.
The implementation of the project will provide an opportunity to develop the competences of teachers and managers of vocational education institutions in the field of environmental sustainability to create a basis for training programmes for environmental technicians and water and wastewater treatment operators urgently needed in the water sector. Moreover, during the implementation of the project, possible industry specialists who would be suitable and ready for work in vocational education institutions and professional teaching staff from the schools to be trained in companies, will be identified. Therefore, it can be safely stated that the project will help to carry out preventive actions to prevent human-caused environmental pollution, which is associated with an acute shortage of labour in the water management sector.
LWWWWA and EVEL are working as links that connects vocational education institutions, water management companies and specialists in the water management sector in order to jointly introduce development sustainable and environmentally friendly development strategies in water management sector. One of the main tasks of LWWWWA and EVEL is to promote the water sector and its importance in society to reach to the potential new professionals to be involved in water it. Also important is promotion and cooperation between water management companies and educational institutions not only on a national, but also on an international scale.
The implementation of the project will provide an opportunity to increase the competence of teaching staff and managers of professional educational institutions within the framework of training seminars both in Latvia and Estonia, thus increasing the knowledge of teaching staff and the recognition of the curriculum itself and the educational institution. In addition, erudite and educated managers of professional educational institutions are those who are able to introduce and implement quality training programs, as well as build cooperation with industry companies. Therefore, it can be claimed that the implementation of the project will provide an opportunity to establish new collaborations not only locally, but also internationally.
Thanks to joint cooperation and EVEL’s experience in the development and implementation of an appropriate and consolidated educational standard for the water management industry, a higher quality work and result will be ensured for the audit of existing professional standards in Latvia and the subsequent development of a consolidated professional standard offer. Also, according to the training programs implemented in Estonia with a similar specialization, the transfer of knowledge to Latvian teaching staff and oppositely will be ensured.
On the other hand, LWWWWA’s experience in project implementation and cooperation with professional educational institutions and water management companies will give EVEL the opportunity to learn new skills and abilities in the further development of activities related to cooperation between educational institutions, water management companies and their feedback.
Project implementation period: 01.03.2022 – 01.12.2022.
Founding: The project is founded in terms of Erasmus+ program 2021-2027 main activities No.2 (KA2) “Partnerships for cooperation” Small-scale partnership (KA210) project by agreement 2021-2-LV01-KA210-VET-000048720.