Last year for Kaunas region was very fertile in terms of investments. After global industry giants, such as Hella, Continental and Hollister decided to expand their business by branching in Kaunas, all Lithuanian economy felt the impact of these investments.
Business and industry, the State and higher education sectors agree – job market is changing rapidly and all the stakeholders need to react to these changes immediately. These were the topics discussed in the forum “Major investors are branching to Kaunas: changes in the jo market”, organised by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), which took place at KTU Santaka Valley last week.
Agency Invest Lithuania general manager Mantas Katinas, KTU Rector ad interim Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Kitron corporation’s general manager Mindaugas Šeštokas introduced Kaunas region development perspectives for the participants of the Forum. Bentley Systems IT corporation introduced their success story of collaboration between universities and business.
The participants of the Forum agreed: if we want the investments to bring results and to attract new investors, and the economy to grow, we need not only to ensure the supply of the needed specialists for the job market, but also to further work on improvement of Kaunas image and infrastructure. This can be achieved only by cooperation of different sectors.
“Businesses need highly qualified professionals, and one of the ways to ensure the talent supply is to cultivate them here, in Lithuania. For this, business and educational institutions have to work together”, said Marius Skuodis, Lithuanian Vice-Minister for Economy.
Kristina Ukvalbergienė, Vice-Rector for Studies ad interim emphasised the need of different levels of education: vocational, college and university training.
“It is important to separate these levels. That’s why we are collaborating with other Kaunas region educational institutions, in order to focus on preparing the needed specialists on different levels for priority industries. Good example of such a collaboration is Kaunas region cluster for preparing aviation specialists”, said Ukvalbergienė.
It was agreed that the efficient collaboration between the stakeholders needs to have a simple and flexible strategy and an interactive convenient platform for cooperation, where all the sectors could easily find and share the information. Also, there was expressed a need of a simpler financial scheme for projects, and the clear communication of added value that business can get from academia.
According to Jurgita Šiugždinienė, KTU Rector ad interim, Kaunas community – academic, business and city municipality representatives – have to clarify the main priorities for the regional development and to outline the competitive advantages of Kaunas.
“After doing this, we can focus on the main issues, to form clusters for collaboration, and, working together, we can design the common communication strategy and to strengthen our studies and research infrastructure. Which, in turn, will help to attract best students and researchers from abroad, to encourage integration of Lithuanian student diaspora into our community”, said Šiugždinienė.
It is being expected that KTU’s initiative to invite to round-table discussion the representatives of different sectors will become a tradition, which will help solving the most urgent issues of Kaunas region.