OpenLab teaching students unique IT skills as Slovakia faces industry shortfall

Top industry experts helping develop digital skills.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business">Business photo created by katemangostar - www.freepik.com</a>)

With Slovakia’s IT industry facing an estimated shortfall of 10,000 specialists, local companies are taking matters into their own hands and have teamed up to create a project to mentor high-school students and give them experience of real work in the sector.

OpenLab, an educational programme for schools, is run under the guidance of experts from top Slovak firms, connecting partner schools and companies to help students develop the digital skills experts say are needed today in the technology sector.

Under the scheme mentors work with high-school students on projects, including creating apps and web portals. The students co-operate with companies intensively, doing internships, gaining experience and useful contacts.

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The plan is that afterwards some of them may be offered jobs in those companies.

Matej Glasnák, 17, in his second year at the Technical School of Electrical Engineering on Hálova Street in Bratislava, had been into programming for a while when representatives of Wezeo, a software house developing web and mobile apps, showed up at the school and offered students the chance to take part in OpenLab.

He told The Slovak Spectator that he did not hesitate for a minute.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about new technology and gain expertise from people who do programming professionally,” Glasnák said.

Projects from start to finish

Glasnák spent three months on developing an education portal – Academy - focused on sharing courses and know-how within schools and companies.

He said this gave him experience of following through a whole project from initial idea to programming to web launch. After the project, students were given a chance of long-term cooperation and Glasnák is spending this summer working with Wezeo.

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