"These new jobs requires a multi-disciplinary knowledge, the STEM education is a good example"
Interview to Paulo Leitão, member of the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança and member of the FIT4FoF project.
Paulo Leitão, professor at Polytechnic Institute of Bragança (IPB), answered some questions about his institution and about training in industry in Portugal, with a view to the future.
How is the training in Portugal? (This university is very linked to the company, the government collaborates in actions to support business training)
The training in Portugal is provided by Universities and Polytechnic academic institutions, which offer PhD, Master, Bachelor and Higher Professional Technical programmes, and Professional Training institutions that provide professional courses aiming the qualification of people and contributing for the insertion of unemployed people in the labour market, by adjusting their skills to the current requirements.
Currently, Portugal slightly exceeds the European average of young people aged 20 to 34 who completed a level equal to or higher than secondary education and found employment in a time period of 1 to 3 years, with a rate of 80,7%. Nevertheless, Portugal aims to reach a rate of 82% regarding the employment of young graduates aged 20 to 34. For this purpose, these programs, but particularly the higher professional technical programmes and the professional training courses, are being designed to face the demand and requirements imposed by the market, in some situations in cooperation with companies.
How should the formation of the future be?
Nowadays, we are noticing an industrial revolution associated to the digital transformation, which is re-shaping the job profiles and the skills, leading to the decrease in low-skilled activities and an increase on high-skill activities. Also, many jobs that are now crucial to implement this transformation, such as Big Data Analyst and Cloud Services Specialist, did not exist 10 years ago. This requires a re-design of the training programs to properly address these new requirements.
Additionally, some of these new jobs requires a multi-disciplinary knowledge of scientific methods, processes, algorithms, systems and businesses. As example, the Data Scientist job involve the knowledge and competences in different fields comprising mathematics and statistics, programming and databases, domain knowledge, and communication and visualization. The STEM education is a good example, where the training curriculum is based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in an interdisciplinary and applied manner, considering a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
In another dimension, the use of digital platforms and technologies can support a more efficient training, e.g., supporting blended learning that combines online with place-based classroom training, as well as new training methodologies e.g., based on project based learning and practice based learning.