The challenge of mediating between the work force demands of public and private businesses and the potential educational institutions offering relevant education for the local citizens is an area that calls for great strategic attention. Learning centers in Sweden have extensive experience in dealing with these matters and the participating countries has both learned from and challenged the way of mediating these needs.
- Numbers and statistics are great at shedding light on reality. The results don’t only lie in the numbers though. You can’t analyze your way to a solution that will work – you must talk about it and work with it. Numbers are also always a little delayed and naturally a view of the past and not the present. If a change is happening, you can risk constantly being behind the change if you only focus on the numbers.
- This thing about educating for the future is naturally difficult. As a new learning center, you must be aware of the responsibility in the society when you select only some educations, but also it is a great responsibility to do nothing. If things keep changing as fast as they are now, it can impact both the way we develop “New ways of learning” and how we are “Targeting new users”. This is exactly why you can’t think education as a once in a lifetime thing – it must be lifelong learning, which is another argument for a local learning center. If you wish for people to live distributed across an entire country, you also have to offer education across the country. One thing is for young people to move to the larger cities and then come back later in life, but there must also be an educational offer for the more established citizens who don’t just leave everything to get an education somewhere else.
- In the process of “Strategic mediation” you get to create a dialogue with employers, worker unions etc. which can contribute to mobilizing the community, because the businesses realize that they have a role in this. Mediating with the local community can be difficult in the beginning of a learning center. First you must establish your position in the community. There are several scenarios where the local learning center only acts as a mediator e.g. by creating links – where the local learning center’s facilities isn’t relevant, but the knowledge and contacts is the key. In Iceland the MSS has created a department designated to cooperating with the local companies. This way they can keep a regular focused contact with the companies and create job-related courses that fulfills the companies demands. A local learning center can have the function of cooperating with the students, educations and local business life independent of having actual educational activities in the local learning center. That can be a local learning center in a municipality that doesn’t have the basis to create an actual class or educational offer but can help to create the links. There are so many local learning center models on a scale from the small handheld effort to a large campus like we see some places in Sweden. It just isn’t all municipalities that has the possibility or the grounds to create a full-scale local learning center.
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