Just one year of training and your first salary of €1200 in hand

Vilnius College of Technologies and Design – where creativity meets innovation!

Increasingly, people are saying that you don’t have to graduate from several universities to do a job you love and earn a good salary – it’s better to take stock of your options, your aspirations and find your career path. Vocational training is one of the best choices for those who know what they want to do or want to get into the labour market as quickly as possible. Vocational training is also available at higher education institutions – colleges. One of them, Vilnius College of Technology and Design, offers more than 10 vocational training programmes, including train driving.

Saulius Žiurinskas, train driver / photo from personal archive

“One of the most interesting and exotic specialities: you drive and see a different and changing Lithuania out of the window,” smiles Julius Gaidys, a lecturer at the Department of Railway Transportation Engineering of VTDK. We have a very well-equipped practical training base: as many as 6 train control simulators, which can be used on practically any railway track, on any model of locomotive operating in Lithuania. In this respect, we are unique in Lithuania and probably one of the strongest in the Baltic States.”

The VTDK shall be entitled to provide training in accordance with approved informal vocational training programmes for train drivers. It is the only centre in Lithuania that provides train driver training and issues certificates entitling to take the examination at examination centres and to obtain a train driver’s certificate. The College has signed international agreements with Polish and Spanish railways and plans to further develop its activities as a training centre for train drivers.

International opportunities

In addition to train drivers, the VTDK also trains manoeuvre operators and electrical installers for railway automation and power supply systems. According to Mr Gaidis, the latter profession is very promising, as the global Rail Baltica project and the electrification section are in the process of being developed, and it is evident that there will soon be a need for trained people to supervise the newly installed section and to operate the trains that will run on the newly created routes to Klaipėda, Riga and other cities. Ina Stankaitienė, Head of the Vocational Training Department at the VTDK, echoes Gaidis and says that rail-related professions are not only needed today, but will be indispensable in the future as Lithuania moves in the strategic direction of rail development.

Saulius Žiurinskas, train driver / photo from personal archive

“We already have simulators ready for our students to try out the international sections that are yet to be built. In addition, we certify drivers who can go to Poland and drive on its territory,” says Gaidys, adding that at the Train Driver Training Centre set up by the VTDK, people trained as train drivers can take an exam and obtain an international train driver’s certificate, which is valid throughout the EU.

The most important thing is that the work you do fits in with the activities you love

“I have dreamt of this profession since I was a little kid, I knew I was going to be a train driver before I went to secondary school,” says Saulius Žiurinskas, who graduated as a train driver at the VTDK Train Drivers Training Centre.

Saulius, who currently works as a Train Driver Instructor, says he often encounters situations where neither students know what career path or studies to choose, nor parents know what to advise them. “My mother was really happy and supportive of the fact that I had a vision of what I wanted to be from a very young age, and she supported me in going towards it and achieving it. Parental support is very rewarding: if you have someone supporting you, it’s much easier to reach your goal”, says Žiurinskas. He believes that a child should know at least roughly what they want, and that if a profession is even remotely interesting to them, they should try to pursue it. “It’s better to go for a job that is not only a job but also a hobby. And if the hobby also pays money, that’s fantastic,” smiles Saulius.

The benefits of vocational training and the professions that will be needed in the future

Entry to higher education requires a certain number of points, while entry to vocational training programmes requires a matriculation certificate. The profession of train driver, for example, takes a year to complete. In addition to school leavers, people who have already obtained a vocational qualification, or even those who have completed higher education and want to upgrade their existing qualification or acquire another qualification, can apply for publicly-funded vocational training places. The knowledge and skills acquired are immediately put into practice, and more than 90% of those who graduate with in-demand professions immediately enter the labour market, find jobs in large companies, have good career prospects, and are able to go on to further education at higher education institutions.

In addition to 12 vocational training programmes and non-formal education services, the VTDK has nearly 20 in-demand, accredited study programmes in engineering, business and public management, and arts. Both the students of VTDK and the Vocational Training Department of the College have not only excellent internship and employment opportunities, but also many opportunities to practice abroad under Erasmus+ and various other traineeship programmes.

Ina Stankaitienė / photo from personal archive

According to I. Stankaitienė, the College is constantly developing new vocational training programmes, working to meet the needs of the modern labour market and to train highly qualified specialists. “Professions in the field of information technology are among the most popular among the students of the Vocational Training Department, and I think they will be in demand in the future,” says I. Stankaitienė. – We use the latest and most modern training equipment, and apply training methods focused on practical skills development and improvement”. She adds that, even if the geopolitical situation changes, the freight forwarding profession will remain competitive, allowing graduates to find employment not only in logistics but also in companies with logistics departments.