The official list of hard-to-fill occupations in Slovenia includes 21 positions: bricklayer, carpenter, builder, operator & mechatronics engineer, roofer, metal working engineer, assembler of electronic equipment and appliances, specialist in dry construction, toolmaker, wood finisher (for the first time since the 2018/2019 academic year; training will be carried out in the educational centre of Rogaška Slatina), electrician, house painter, stove setter, employee of a car service centre, baker, forester, confectioner, chimney sweeper, glazier, butcher, and upholsterer. The most requested occupations for the next academic year are the machine building and process engineers (76 bids from employers), metal working engineers, toolmakers (47 bids), operators & mechatronics engineers (40 bids), electrical engineers (33 bids) machine building engineers with higher education (24 bids), machine building engineers with a Master’s degree (20 bids), electricians (18 bids), machine building engineers with secondary vocational education, cooks and waiters (15 bids).
Today, citizens of Slovenia studying at secondary vocational schools and obtaining hard-to-fill occupations receive an additional scholarship of 100 euros per month throughout the study period. As expected, in the new academic year, there will be about 1,000 of such students in the country. Given a high competition for the hard-to-fill occupation scholarships, the quality point average in the final year of basic school and the grade point average in selected subjects completed in the final year will be primarily taken into account. Specialists of the scholarship fund will first rank the candidates’ applications in accordance with the first criterion. Candidates for scholarships will be notified on the results of the selection before the beginning of December 2018.
At the same time, foreign students from the post-Soviet countries also have prospects for obtaining hard-to-fill occupation scholarships. At present, the 2TM Company conducts relevant negotiations with a number of leading enterprises and development agencies of the country. Some of them have already expressed their interest in foreign specialists (in particular, in the hospitality industry) and readiness for cooperation. Therefore, the representatives of 2TM have recently held a meeting with the management of the PLEVNIK d.o.o. production, which requires professionals with a degree in economics and engineering, as well as technical specialists, such as mechatronics engineers, welders, and electricians. The company is ready to consider the possibility of paying scholarships to students from abroad. The amount of the scholarship starts from 245 euros per month. 2TM keeps working in this direction.
We will promptly inform you on the new details and achievements in this issue.
Scholarships for hard-to-fill occupations are paid on an equal basis with other scholarships, with the exception of regular professions of similar purpose. Although the regular scholarships are the highest and on average amount to 280 euros per month for students of secondary vocational schools and 416 euros per month for university students, they are not very popular, since the majority of young people simply do not have information about them. In the 2015/2016 academic year, 2,600 students received regular scholarships, and five years before that – 5,200 students. The role of the government in the allocation of regular scholarships is secondary. The economy of the country takes the initiative in this issue.
As for the role of the government, for effective training of specialists of the above professions, it implements apprenticeships, in which at least half of the study time is spent at an employer’s enterprise. In the 2017/2018 academic year, pilot apprenticeship programmes in several secondary vocational schools were introduced to prepare carpenters, bricklayers, toolmakers and hospitality industry workers/hoteliers. From September 2018, a similar programme will be provided for glaziers, workers of the pulp and paper industry, house painters and mechanical and machine building engineers. Although the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has expected that 200 people will be trained annually under the apprenticeship programmes, only 53 people in fact studied on them in the 2016/2017 academic year, and 71 students used these programmes in the 2017/2018 academic year. This is 17 times less than the total number of vacancies offered by employers. The reason is the same as in the situation with regular profession scholarships – insufficiently effective promotion.