Currently, there are more than 24 thousand Ukrainian refugees in Latvia, including 700 at school age. They receive free housing, regional transportation, health care and education services, and allowance of EUR 109 per person.
Ukrainians have the right to receive education and to work in Latvia. Children may enter pre-school education in the municipality where they reside. Young refugees are exempt from the State examinations at upper secondary level. They may choose to study in Latvian or, when available, minority languages.
VET is accessible. After assessing learner existing competences in accordance with VET curricula, providers offer individual learning plans and decide on the necessary support measures, including individual counselling, mentoring, psychologist or social pedagogues. Free study materials (and EUR 50 for additional materials) and school meals are also offered for all refugees from Ukraine. In addition, EUR 76 (EUR 108 in arts programmes) monthly scholarship is provided for each VET learner at upper secondary level. Obtaining a professional qualification requires passing the professional qualification exam.
Local authorities have five days to evaluate and offer suitable education programmes to newly arrived and registered refugees. The authorities shall immediately contact the education ministry (within one day) should there be no relevant VET programme available in the city/county. In such cases, the ministry will ensure the support is provided.
Higher VET learners are entitled to receive EUR 140 monthly scholarship until end-June 2022. Latvia has also established a Special Support Scholarship Fund to support Ukrainian civilians in pursuing higher education and scientific activities. Ukrainian university students can continue their studies in Latvia with the same state support as Latvian students.
Despite VET offer, currently almost all Ukrainian refugees are in general education programmes (21 in VET).
Given their qualification is recognised, Ukrainian VET teachers can work as teachers assisted by mentors in Latvia. They can also work as teacher assistants. National Centre for Education has published a call for Ukrainians to apply for work in schools.
The Ukrainian Secondary School in Riga designed a block of the so called ‘Ukrainian Studies’ (the Ukrainian language and literature, history of Ukraine, folk studies, elements of Ukrainian culture in home economics, dance, music and visual arts) to help preserve and develop the Ukrainian language and culture in Latvia.
Latvian language courses
The education ministry organises the development and publication of teaching materials for the Latvian language in accordance with the curricula.
As a support measure for Ukrainians, a 120-hours language course free of charge is being offered.
Public employment service (State Employment Agency) helps Ukrainians to find a job and offers language courses as well. To receive a job-search support, it is not necessary to register as an unemployed or job seeker. One must register with the service, to be eligible for the Latvian language course (120 hours) and a small allowance. Learners who will pass an example, will receive a certificate of proficiency in the State language.
Erasmus+ project ‘National coordinators for Implementation of European Agenda in Adult Learning in Latvia’ in cooperation with the Latvian Language Agency and local municipalities offers 20-hour Latvian language courses with more than 100 adult Ukrainians already participating.
Individual qualification recognitions are at the discretion of employers. Fast track is available for recognition of medical qualifications for those with foreign medical degrees.
Regulations and professional standards in require knowledge of Latvian. A lack of language skills is the main challenge when it comes to integrating refugees in the education and labour market. Another challenges specific to VET is difference between VET systems in Latvia and Ukraine.
What works well
Access to public employment services without bureaucratic formalities works well for job seekers and ensures good results. Immediate availability of public childcare services support adults’ integration into the labour market. Social networks that link employers with potential employees also play an important role in ensuring the integration.
Information and resources available online for Ukrainian refugees, teachers, trainers, and other professionals
Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Latvia; Cedefop (2022). Latvia: integrating the Ukrainian refugees into VET and labour market. National news on VET