• Anita Lice University of Latvia (LV)
  • Biruta Sloka University of Latvia (LV)



Competencies, education methods, employability, performance, vocational education


As the labour market changes at increasing pace, education systems need to respond. Facilitating employability of graduates and preparing them for lifelog learning and constant changes throughout their careers requires new education methods. In order to assess the current approach to developing employability of graduates in vocational education in Latvia, this article aims at evaluating the attitudes of employers on performance of vocational education in developing employability competencies, as well as investigating the practical education methods applied by vocational education institutions to facilitate employability.

Total 750 companies participated in this research. A list of 17 employability competencies was rated using a four-point Likert scale. Employers rated the relative performance of vocational education in developing employability competencies. In order to investigate  education methods applied to facilitate development of employability competencies, interviews with managers of 12 vocational education institutions were conducted. The research results show that vocational education in Latvia is best at developing computer skills and presentation skills, however it performs worst at developing the ability to take responsibility, ensuring relevant work experience, developing problem-solving skills and  appropriate attitude to work. Overall, performance of vocational education received almost as many negative evaluations as positive evaluations. The main education methods to facilitate employability of graduates used by vocational education institutions are practical learning and extra-curricular activities.




Download data is not yet available.


Bennett, N., Dunne, E., & Carré, C. (1999). Patterns of Core and Generic Skill Provision in Higher Education. Higher Education, vol. 37, No. 1, 71–93. Retrieved 04/05/2018 from

Bridgstock, R. (2009). The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: enhancing graduate employability through career management skills. Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 28, No. 1, 31-44, DOI: 10.1080/07294360802444347

Cedefop. (2014a). Attractiveness of initial vocational education and training: identifying what matters. Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Central Statistical Bureau. (2018). Apsekojuma “Pieaugušo izglītība” rezultāti [Results of the survey "Adult Education"]. Retrieved from:

de Grip, A., van Loo, J., Sanders, J. (2004). The Industry Employability Index: taking account of supply and demand characteristics. International Labour Review, vol. 143, No. 3, 211–233., W., Rodrigues-Planas, N., Schmidl, R., Zimmermann, K. F. (2015). A road map to vocational education and training in industrialized countries. ILR Review, vol. 68, No. 2, 314–337.

Employment Agency of Latvia. (2016). Pārskats par bezdarba situāciju valstī (septembris). [Overview of the unemployment situation in the country (September)]. Retrieved from

Employment Agency of Latvia. (2018). Pārskats par bezdarba situāciju valstī (septembris) [Overview of the unemployment situation in the country (September)]. Retrieved from:

European Commission, EACEA, Eurydice. (2014). Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability 2014. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Commission, EACEA, Eurydice. (2015). The European Higher Education Area in 2015: Bologna Process Implementation Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

European Commission. (2015). Education and Training Monitor 2015. Luxembourg.

European Commission. (2017). Education and Training Monitor 2017. Luxembourg.

Fugate, M., Kinicki, A.J., Ashforth, B. E. (2004). Employability: A psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications. Journal of Vocational Behavior, vol. 65, No. 1, 14–38.

Harvey, L. (2005). Embedding and integrating employability. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2005(128), 13–28.

Hillage, J., Pollard, E. (1998). Employability: developing a framework for policy analysis. Labour Market Trends, 107(85), 83–84. Retrieved 27/06/2018 from

Humburg, M., van der Velden, R., Verhagen, A. (2013). Final report The Employability of Higher Education Graduates: The Employers’ Perspective. Publications Office of the European Union.

Klāsons, G., Spuriņš, U. (2015). Pētījums par prakšu pieejamību un kvalitāti Latvijā. Noslēguma ziņojums. [Study on availability and quality of work placements in Latvia. Final report]. Riga: Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK). Retrieved from

Līce, A. (2017). Involvement of employers in educating employees as a solution to the problem of skilled workforce shortage in Latvia. In I. Kangro, A. Fernāte, S. Kārkliņa, & S. Kraže (Eds.), Challenges for high quality of adult education: Inter-national scientific conference proceedings, 111–123. Riga: Ministry of Education and Science.

Līce, A. (2018). Learning by Working: Examining Examples of Good Practice in Organising Work placements in Vocational Education. Learning Strategies and Constructionism in Modern Education Settings. IGI Global publishing house, ISBN13: 9781522554301

Ministry of Education and Science (2018). 2018.gada 12. decembra Profesionālās izglītības un nodarbinātības trīspusējās sadarbības apakšpadomes sēdes protokols [Minutes of Vocational education and employment tripartite sub-council meeting on 12 December 2018] Riga. Retrieved from

Ministry of Education and Science. (2014a). Izglītības attīstības pamatnostādnes 2014.-2020.gadam [Education Development Guidelines for 2014-2020]. Retrieved from:

Pool, L.D., Qualter, P., Sewell, P.J. (2014). Exploring the factor structure of the CareerEDGE employability development profile. Education + Training, vol. 56, No. 4, 303–313.

Pool, L.D., Sewell, P. (2007). The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education + Training, 49(4), 277–289.

Project and Quality Management Ltd. (2013). Nākotnē stratēģiski pieprasītākās prasmes Latvijā [Strategically most demanded skills in future Latvia]. SIA Projektu un kvalitātes vadība. Retrieved 16/05/2018 from

Project and Quality Management Ltd. (2014). Darba tirgus specifisko reģionālo problēmu identificēšana un pasākumu izstrādāšana reģionālā darba tirgus konkurētspējas stiprināšanai, pētījuma atskaite. [Identification of specific regional labor market problems and identification of measures for strengthen its competitiveness, the study report]. Retrieved 25/05/2017 from

Sumanasiri, E.G.T., Yajid, M.S.A., Khatibi, A. (2015). Review of literature on Graduate Employability. Journal of Studies in Education, vol. 5, No. 3, 75-88.

Van der Velden, R., Welter, R., Wolbers, M. (2001). The integration of young people into the labour market within the European Union: the role of institutional settings, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market Working Paper, No. 7E.

World Economic Forum (2018). The Future of Jobs Report. 2018. Switzerland. Retrieved from:

Yorke, M. and Knight, P.T. (2006) Embedding Employability into the Curriculum: Learning & Employability Series 1. The Higher Education Academy, York. Retrieved from:




How to Cite