By Svetlana Lomonosova
Around 25,000 unemployed people annually undergo professional training in Belarus. However, in our contemporary times, it isn’t enough to be well trained; it’s also vital to find a corresponding vacancy. The most efficient solution is to train people at enterprises’ request. At present, 45 percent of unemployed people are receiving training this way. Meanwhile, the Labour and Social Protection Ministry believes that the best guarantee of employment is to train people for specific jobs requiring filling. Many employers are deterred by the expense of training but the situation should soon change, with the state hoping to finance such activities.
“Previously, employment services compensated employers’ for the expense of personnel training where employees were under threat of dismissal, had been redundant or were in their first job,” explains Nikolay Kokhonov, the Head of the Main Department of Employment and Population Policy at the Labour and Social Protection Ministry. “However, payment was made afterwards. We now want to expand the list of training opportunities while allocating funds for professional training in advance.”
For example, tool-makers are universally in demand at factories but few emerge from Belarusian vocational schools. In fact, no one under the age of 31 is among the profession. The situation could be improved by training people directly at enterprises but appropriate vocational training facilities need to be restored.
Many enterprises are now ready to rise to the challenge, however. Maxim Gubsky, Belintertrans’ Deputy General Director, notes that they’d happily train international drivers if the expense of purchasing several training vehicles was covered. Moreover, they’d need compensation for the payment of each driver accompanying trainees on their first foreign trip.
“The next step is to encourage experienced workers to help train novices,” believes Sergey Sorokin, the Head of the Belarusian Federation of Trade Unions’ Chief Department of Industrial and Socio-Economic Work. “We can envisage some extra payment for them — at least 50 percent of the minimum wage.”
Undoubtedly, the interests of trainees cannot be ignored and it’s no secret that they only receive the minimum wage during their period of study. Consequently, not everyone wants to become a ‘pupil’. A training ‘allowance’ could be added to this minimum wage to encourage workers.
Production modernisation is high on the agenda at many enterprises. However, the issue arises on who will operate these new modern tools. We could send our domestic machine workers abroad for training; certainly, any enterprise choosing this step should be guaranteed certain tax privileges.