Vocational education as a strength of the Zone
Lodz Special Economic Zone has actively engaged in the development of vocational education. In January, the Management Board of the Lodz Special Economic Zone signed a declaration of support for the assumptions of the new education policy regarding vocational education.
Shortage of labour? This statement reflects the current situation of the labour market. Employers complain about the lack of available and qualified personnel even though recorded unemployment still statistically remains high.
The reason for this is the mismatch between the needs of companies and the qualifications of employees. Therefore, Lodz Special Economic Zone has actively engaged in the development of vocational education.
A good example from Piotrkow
In January 2017, representatives of economic zones, including the Management Board of Lodz Special Economic Zone, signed a declaration of support for the assumptions of the new education policy regarding vocational education. The objective of the changes, worked out by the Ministry of National Education, is to disseminate the dual education system so that it will meet the needs of the economy. Cooperation with the companies in the economic vicinity of a particular school is an essential element of the new system. Organising practical classes by employers should be one of the forms of such a collaboration - this way the process of learning a profession takes place in real conditions, i.e. as part of a dual education.
This is nothing new for Lodz Special Economic Zone. The Zone has been cooperating with the Lifelong Education Centre of Modern Technologies in Lodz for a few years now. The branch of the Centre in Piotrkow Trybunalski is an example of this, when it was established for the benefit of Haering, one of investors in the Zone and shows how this works in practice. In the 2017/2018 school year, it will be possible to gain qualifications in several professions: technician/mechanic, mechatronics technician, and trades technician. From day one of the course, participants are given an employment agreement with a monthly remuneration of PLN 2,000 gross. All practical classes are held at the headquarters of Haering.
There are many more examples of engagement of Lodz Special Economic Zone in education. The Zone is a leader and coordinator of Lodz Education Cluster, the objectives of which include propagation and building a positive image of vocational training, activation of vocational training centres, and encouraging them to cooperate with companies. The Cluster specialises in forecasting and conducts research regarding the demand for professional skills and qualifications in the region, as well as cooperating with enterprises, including investors of Lodz Special Economic Zone.
Cooperation with universities
Lodz Special Economic Zone actively collaborates with Lodz-based higher education institutions.
„The Zone’s participation in funding scholarships for particularly gifted students of the Lodz University of Technology is a crucial element of this cooperation”, says Professor Sławomir Wiak,Rector of the Lodz University of Technology. „This is a fragment of the Young in Lodz competition operating under the name ‘I have an idea for business’. Lodz Special Economic Zone has supported the competition since it was established and has so far funded as many as 28 scholarships”, says Professor Wiak. He also adds that the University is expanding the relationship with Lodz Special Economic Zone and is concentrating on the development of entrepreneurial spirit among the students who open start-ups. This is an area of common interest with the Zone.
With regard to the ties Lodz Special Economic Zone has with education, it is necessary to mention the British International School of the University of Lodz. In 2013, the former owner of the International School announced that operations would be ceasing. This was exceptionally sad news for the region because, for many foreign investors, the opportunity of educating children of their employees in English was extremely important. Eventually, it was possible to save the school thanks to the involvement of the University of Lodz and the Lodz Special Economic Zone.