Studies with Guarantee: RSU Offers Education that is Highly Appreciated by Employers
When choosing a professional career path and the potential university, one of the most important questions that prospective students ask themselves is: will I find a job in my speciality after studies? Will I be working in my dream workplace? Data from various international rankings and surveys show that graduates of about 70 study programmes offered by Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) are in demand as specialists in their fields. Employers value not only the theoretical knowledge the students acquire during studies, but also practical skills, to acquisition of which RSU pays more and more attention.
Education evaluated in international and local rankings
One of the world's best-known providers of services, analysis and reviews in the higher education sector QS, has ranked RSU among the world's leading universities in the internationally recognised QS World University Rankings for the fourth consecutive year. QS data indicates that this year RSU’s reputation among employers is also significantly higher than last year. This confirms that employers welcome the knowledge, skills and competences students acquire during their studies.
For the fifth year in a row, an annual study conducted by the research company Kantar has recognised Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) as being the Latvian institution of higher education with the best reputation. Respondents valued how highly diplomas from RSU are rated in the labour market, the high quality of education and being able to learn the practical knowledge and skills required to work in their speciality.
This is also confirmed by the monitoring of graduates of higher education institutions carried out by the Ministry of Education and Science.
92 % of RSU graduates successfully enter the labour market, while the average employment of Latvian university graduates is 80 %, according to the data published this year.
Simulation technologies, research and practice in the study process
Simulation technologies are an important part of preparing prospective specialists for the labour market, something that RSU has invested in considerably. The simulation training process allows students to improve their skills in a safe way and is utilised by prospective doctors, health care professionals as well as future communications experts, lawyers, political scientists and entrepreneurs.
At the Medical Education Technology Centre, the largest of its kind in the Baltics, prospective health care professionals train on medical moulages, mannequins and simulation devices, identifying errors and gaps in theoretical knowledge. Prospective psychologists improve their professional skills in the Psychology Laboratory, journalists do so at the RSU multimedia studio, lawyers practice in the courtroom and forensic science laboratory, and entrepreneurs – in the business incubator B-Space.
In order to create a common understanding between the university, the employer and the potential employee about what skills the labour market requires, since the end of 2018 the university has been implementing the European Social Fund’s project Skills Monitoring System, which in cooperation with Finnish, German and Turkish universities is planned to be approved at international level until 2023. Initially, the skills of future doctors were updated, followed by nurses, midwives, functional specialists, psychologists and lawyers. In order to identify the skills that students need to acquire primarily, 55 RSU lecturers from 17 structural units have created a skills catalogue, which is still being updated. The contribution of the skills monitoring system is that assessment of skills acquisition and level determination will be carried out according to common standards. A skills portfolio will be created as such an annex to the CV, which will be a valuable source of information for the future employer.
High-quality studies are inconceivable without having practice, which is given an increasingly important role during the study process. For prospective doctors, the amount of clinical practice has been increased up to 20 weeks, during which practical skills can be acquired in foreign clinics, university hospitals, regional and private medical institutions. RSU students can also gain professional experience in other ways, for example, by working in the Student Union, multimedia studies, business incubator projects, or by creating the magazine Inquisitio – the only investigative journalism magazine in Latvia.
‘I believe that RSU graduates stand out with the ability to adapt to different conditions, think critically and discipline themselves for purposeful work. These qualities are useful both in professional career and in any life situation,’ says Silvija Reinberga, graduate of the Bachelor's study programme Politics and Political Communication and the Master's study programme Regional Politics and Public Administration, the journalist of the national information agency LETA.
Looking back at the study time, I now appreciate each seminar and every day of placement, which threw light on the acquired theoretical knowledge and connected it with the real life. During the placement, we worked at the Ministry of Welfare and the Saeima, where I understood how decisions are made and what does civil service and bureaucracy mean.
Silvija Reinberga, RSU alumna
Romāns Gagunovs, graduate of the RSU Bachelor's study programme Politics and Political Communication and current student of the Master's study programme Regional Politics and Public Administration, who has been working as the Secretary of the Saeima Social and Employment Matters Committee for almost two years, also mentions communication skills, critical thinking and the ability to process large amounts of information as the most useful skills acquired during studies.
Presentations at seminars and student conferences were a good training to learn how to express one's opinion clearly, how to communicate and persuade. The famous summaries, which must be written by all the RSU social science students, also gave me the ability to quickly extract the essential from the text – this is now very useful for me at work.
Romāns Gagunovs, RSU almunus
In addition to simulation technologies and placement, research also plays an important role in the study process. ‘We are implementing a vertically integrated project approach, where students work in a team with experienced researchers,’ explains Jeļena Koļesņikova, the head of the study programme Health Psychology, emphasising students’ opportunities to participate in research work. ‘Intensive scientific research work in the study process undoubtedly bears fruits – our students are in demand on the labour market.’ They have greater opportunities to pursue career in both research and the profession of psychologist.
RSU has been the largest alma mater for health care and medical professionals for more than 70 years. There is no health care sector or medical institution in which none of the graduates of more than 30 health-related study programmes does not work. Our graduates are actively involved in a wide range of institutions, beginning from the public administration sector to the most complex clinical activities, both in the fight against the global pandemic as world-class experts and consultants and in many other places elsewhere.
The opportunities for graduates of the medical programmes are constantly improving: placement opportunities in Latvian and foreign clinics are significantly increasing, which currently in ten, but in the following years even in 18 weeks will allow graduates to enhance their knowledge and skills, understand and put down roots in the labour market, find strong support from experienced colleagues for starting a medical career.
Our sixth year students are recognised both in university hospitals in Rīga and regional hospitals as well as in world-class hospitals in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Poland, the United States, the United Kingdom and dozens of other countries around the world. Our future graduates demonstrate distinguished knowledge and forge RSU as an excellent place to acquire knowledge at European and even global level. It is clear that our goal is not only an international environment and openness to the world's most advanced scientific ideas in medicine. First and foremost, our graduates take care of the Latvian public health in general, preparing themselves to work in both state and municipal, as well as private medical institutions. Time dictates a gradual generational change in our national health care system: every year our most prominent doctors are assisted by many well-trained and practically tested young physicians who will take care of the foundations and achievements of our country's health well-being over time./p>
Investment for life: quality studies, internationality, high-quality teaching staff
It is important to us that the graduate is fully prepared for the labour market when he walks through the university door. Before commencing studies at RSU, a student has to take into account, that a lot of work will have to be done, but the result will be worth it. Simulation technologies, placement opportunities, industry experts as teaching staff, research projects, study research and innovation grants – these are the tools with which we prepare students for working life. During their studies, young specialists acquire not only the knowledge and skills necessary for the profession, but also competencies and qualities that will be of value in any profession – creativity, ability to work in a team, productive communication, critical thinking, technology and information literacy. Such diversity, the ability to adapt to the labour market and to be innovative characterises our graduates.
Asst. Prof. Dins Šmits, Chairman of the Board, RSU Alumni Association/p>