How did it start?

At the time of the Hanseatic League, in the late middle ages, the Baltic Sea was a flourishing region with close business relations. Young people went abroad as apprentices in order to get good training and learn a profession. This continued also after the end of the Hansa but later in the 20th century it almost ceased to exist. This was the start point when the Norden Association started to develop what became the Baltic Training Programme. To recreate this mobility of young students in what today is the vocational training. In order to give you as a student new knowledge, experiences and contacts that you might not find in your home country.

A common labour market is now forming again in the Baltic Sea region. The mobility of labour is increasing and calls for skills uniformity and more knowledge about the region. New market conditions allow developing cross border entrepreneurship and involving skilful and integrative labour force in various spheres of business.

Schools and other institutions providing vocational training needs to adapt to the new market conditions in order to give an adequate response to the market needs. The question of internationalisation of vocational education and training (VET) is not the matter of choice but the matter of necessity. The Baltic Training Programme gives students in advanced vocational education an opportunity to take part an international training and internship abroad in order to develop their professional skills and knowledge of the Central Baltic region.

Why Estonia, Latvia and Sweden?

We are all close neighbours with a rapid development of our relations. The companies are as always the front runners but all sectors of our societies are now establishing new relations or re-establishing relations from before the Soviet era.

Being close neighbours has the advantage of short distances between us both in relations to transports but equally important in relations to understanding each others cultures and values.

All of us are relatively small countries depending on export of our products. Our home markets are simple to small in order to be the motor needed for feeding modern welfare states.

The conclusion is that we need to create a stronger home market among ourselves in the Baltic Sea region. A market with no borders and a wide spread understanding of doing business with each other and to develop cross-border entrepreneurship.

A strong Baltic Sea home market will be an arena for our companies where they can train and develop joint businesses able to compete on the global market.

Who is behind the “Baltic Training Programme”?

The BTP is operated by a partnership of four organisations; Norden Association and Frans Schartau Business Institute (City of Stockholm) in Sweden, Narva Vocational Training Centre in Estonia and Vidzeme Planning Region in Latvia.

The Norden Association in Sweden, founded in 1919 is an NGO with 17 000 individual members. Its main aim is to promote the co-operation between the five Nordic countries and the three autonomous regions; Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Aaland Islands. Besides the Norden Association has 17 years experience of development and administration of cross boarder projects in the Baltic and Barents regions as well as bilateral projects with Russia and Ukraine. The projects are mainly within business development, education and culture.

The Frans Schartau Business Institute was founded in 1865 and has provided vocational education for adults for over a century. Originally owned by the Association of wholesale suppliers in Stockholm it is today a part of the City of Stockholm. The Frans Schartau Business Institute are offering a wide range of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes as for example hotel management, shop management, pharmacist technicians etc. The School is working closely with the local business community in the Stockholm region.

Narva Vocational Training Centre is one of the largest institutions for vocational education and training in Estonia. It was established in year 2000 on the basis of four vocational schools. The main tasks are providing vocational secondary training for schools leavers; organisation of advanced training and retraining for adults; training of people with special needs; pre-vocational training for pupils of basic schools and gymnasia; training of entrepreneurs. We offer courses in the fields of cooking, catering, hotel service, cleaning, ICT, multimedia, construction, metalworking, automatics and electronics. NVTC is located in the county of Ida-Virumaa, which has always been an industrial centre of Estonia.

The Vidzeme Planning Region is a public body under control of the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Governments; it represents 26 municipalities in northern Latvia. The main functions are the following: planning and coordination of regional development, implementation of regional projects, coordination of co-operation between local municipalities and state institutions. The leading priorities of the Region are fostering economic development and competitiveness, development towards knowledge-based economics, development of human resources and promoting employment. There are 11 vocational schools and the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences providing vocational education in the Region. The ambition of the Region Administration is to improve quality and prestige of vocational education, as well to strengthen ties between educational institutions and businesses in the region and internationally.

Contact information to the Lead Partner:

Norden Association (Föreningen Norden)
P.O.Box 22087
SE-104 22 Stockholm

Visiting address: Hantverkargatan 29

Programme director Anders Bergström

Phone: +46 8 506 11 312

Project officer Birgitta Engman

Phone: +46 8 506 11 317