Conference Personnel of the Future - Personnel for Industry: How to effectively build employee competencies

Date of posting: 2021-11-03

Problems related to finding specialists with the right skills are mentioned by companies as one of their main challenges. One of the reasons is the mismatch between the education system and the requirements of the contemporary labour market. How to respond to employers' needs was discussed during a conference organised by Industrial Development Agency JSC “Kadry Przyszłości - Kadry dla Przemysłu", which takes place on 3-4 November at the Olympic Centre in Warsaw.

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Personnel for Industry Programme webpage

– We know how fast technology is changing, we know what professions we need. That is why we want the cooperation between education and business to be closer and closer, and to lead to success both for companies and for school graduates - said Cezariusz Lesisz, President of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), opening the conference "Personnel of the Future - Personnel for Industry".

The event, organised by the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and the "Rzeczpospolita" daily, is devoted to challenges connected with responding to one of the main barriers mentioned by companies in their activities. And it is precisely the problem of finding specialists with appropriate skills.

One of the reasons for this situation is the mismatch between the education system and the requirements of the contemporary labour market. According to the data from last year's report of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, as much as 70% of Polish employers indicate difficulties in finding employees with the desired skills. In the case of medium-sized companies it is as much as 76%.

Let's not be afraid of technological development

The need to change this situation was also pointed out by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in a letter addressed to the conference participants.

Over the last 30 years, we have been focusing primarily on the level of unemployment and not on the structure of the labour market, although both issues are closely related. There has been a lack of good communication between the state and business, as a result of which Polish universities have for years been educated according to fashions rather than market needs. A manifestation of a complete disregard for reality was the abandonment of vocational education, which is now being laboriously rebuilt," the Prime Minister wrote.

In his opinion, the Polish Deal will lead to the transformation of the labour market towards the creation of new jobs, including very well-paid ones, requiring high skills. According to the Prime Minister, we should not be afraid that the development of technology will cause machines to take jobs away from people.

– This vision should not worry us. It should motivate us. Technological progress that frees us from the most arduous work is an achievement that we have been dreaming about for decades. The hardest, most exhausting types of physical work are becoming a thing of the past - this is good news. Let's not be afraid of technological developments, let's think about how to educate workers to find their way in the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Because this revolution must take place simultaneously on the technological level and on the level of the labour market - emphasized Mateusz Morawiecki.

And it is in response to these challenges that the Industrial Development Agency (ARP) has been implementing the 'Personnel for Industry' project for three years. Its most important premise is to initiate cooperation between universities and businesses, so that together they can develop an appropriate study programme. This is because academia can contribute to filling the personnel gap in industry, while companies can provide graduates with clearly defined career paths.

– The conference is part of the initiatives that Industrial Development Agency has been undertaking for several years, trying to support all activities which are to provide appropriate personnel for the Polish economy, for Polish entrepreneurs - emphasised Paweł Kolczyński, Vice-President of Industrial Development Agency.

He pointed out that we are at a very important moment. - It is characterised by many challenges. Among them are: energy transformation, entering completely new industries, nuclear energy challenges, hydrogen issues, the whole area related to the production of renewable energy offshore, but also to the development of energy based on the sun and wind. All this, combined with the trends of maximum digitalization of the economy and searching for answers to the challenges of the Industry 4 0 idea, makes the problem of appropriate personnel a very important issue - emphasized Paweł Kolczyński.

The current situation of the development of vocational education was presented by Marzena Machałek, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education and Science, Government plenipotentiary for supporting the educational function of schools and institutions, inclusive education and vocational training. She emphasised that in preparing the changes, the government took into account strategic documents and also listened to the voice of employers.

– It was necessary to combine the development vision of the state with the expectations of employers here and now, as well as with how we diagnosed the level, relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of vocational education. Hence the changes were fundamental and they are already starting to bring results - said Marzena Machałek.

She added that with the very dynamic changes on the labour market today it is very difficult to predict what fields of specialisation will be needed when young people after school will enter the labour market. - One of the challenges for the education system is to prepare it for what we do not know, but can only predict. We have to anticipate the unpredictable, so we are in quite a difficult but also very interesting situation - said the Secretary of State.

She added that what is certain at least is this, a significant number of people who are working today will have to change their qualifications very decisively.

Challenges of Industry 4.0

During the conference debates, it was discussed, among other things, how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will affect the future of work.

Kamil Mroczka, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Industrial Development Agency and Director General of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, pointed out that when talking about competences we talk about knowledge on the one hand and attitudes and behaviours on the other. - Competences mean something more than knowledge. We often forget this - he pointed out.

– As far as digital competences are concerned, we have IT competences, let us call them hard competences, such as the ability to use equipment, information competences, related to obtaining and processing data and analysing its reliability and functional competences, i.e. the ability to use the previous ones in everyday work - said Kamil Mroczka.

He pointed out that in spite of the fact that Poland is not on the best position in the digitalization rankings, the biggest technology companies locate their digital competence centres in Poland, which proves that there are high-class specialists in these fields.

Dr hab. Dariusz Surowik, rector of the State College of Computer Science and Business Administration in Łomża, spoke about the opening of public universities to the needs of companies.

– We cooperate very strongly with the socio-economic environment and we study these needs. Each public vocational university acts on the needs of the local market. Therefore, if we see the demand of entrepreneurs for a certain class of specialists, we try to respond to it quite quickly - emphasized dr hab. Dariusz Surowik.

Piotr Dardziński, President of the Łukasiewicz Research Network, speaking about various aspects of scientists' work, stressed that this is the most future-oriented profession, because a scientist by definition must be prepared for the unknown.

He also pointed out that, among other things, in the operation of the Network it is important to be open and flexible to market needs. He stressed that Łukasiewicz Research Network is engaged in, among others, searching for solutions to specific technological problems indicated by entrepreneurs.

During the two-day conference, experts will also raise the issues of modern human resources in traditional industry and educating workers for the smart factories of the future. In addition to responding to the needs of employers, there will also be talk about the expectations and ambitions of young people, who are to become the industry leaders of the future.

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