Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences has Developed a Generational Marketing Strategy with the Aim of Attracting Determined Latvian and Foreign Students in Technical Fields
The development and implementation of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (ViA) generational marketing strategy is one of the activities carried out within the project “Next Generation Micro Cities of Europe” and is aimed at attracting determined, active and interested young people to study in technical fields. In addition, it is aimed at the evaluation of the goal, uniqueness and international reputation of ViA Bachelor’s Programme in Information Technologies, technological solutions (EdTech, Educational Technologies) in education, the definition of the target audience and target countries, and the attraction of partner companies, universities and organizations not only in Latvia, but also abroad.
In the field of information and communication technology (ICT), the demand for a qualified, digitally-skilled workforce significantly exceeds the supply resulting in a shortage of ICT specialists. The shortage of specialists in regional cities is even more distinct due to the fact that many professionals move to work in the capital or abroad; however, when offered the challenges of sufficiently ambitious study and practical experience, they can change their mind in favour of the region.
From September 2020, ViA will offer the opportunity to start studies in the international programme "Information Technologies” which aims at educating new specialists who will graduate the programme with the qualification of a programming engineer and the specialisation in cyber security or in virtual reality and smart technologies, in order to to promote the development of the ICT sector, the creation of new and innovative products and services, and stimulate the digital transformation of other sectors.
The uniqueness of the programme lies in studying in interdisciplinary groups, using innovative learning methods and technologies that will help future professionals to develop the individual qualities required in the labour market: creativity, leadership, critical thinking and decision-making, communication skills, cooperative skills and teamwork, understanding the needs and being able to communicate about them. The uniqueness is also created by opportunities for cooperation and integration with other ViA study programmes representing an original combination of studies in Latvia. The IT study programme offered by ViA develops technological expertise (Tech Literacy) in the following areas:
- IT and engineering: platforms, tools, networks,
- models / modelling,
- mechatronics (IT and mechanics).
In turn, these areas can be studied and explored in synergy with society, thus developing social expertise (Social Intelligence), and in ViA these are: social sciences, knowledge and skills; theoretical models, their understanding, applications, tools, approaches, methods.
In order to achieve the generational marketing goals and objectives, various marketing innovations are tested as well. One of those is the involvement of the university students and teaching staff in the creation of high-quality content and the experiments with various audio-visual formats by using the studio with a green screen, glass board and other solutions available at the Multimedia Laboratory of the university. Simultaneously, versions of the ViA mobile app are being developed and tested, which is going to be a comprehensive source of information not only for the university students, but also for school students.
Several studies have shown that interactive opportunities and online collaboration, as well as study and co-creation opportunities are important for young people. The state of emergency (Covid-19) attested the capacity of ViA teaching staff to adapt to the situation and offer online studies from anywhere in the world. Despite the fact that most of the content consumed is found by young people themselves, it is important to get support from professionals who select information from reliable sources.
The experiments of ViA with various reference platforms and frameworks will provide young people with opportunities to find and choose the information they are interested in or need in a particular situation, and will attract students from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Italy, Germany, India and Vietnam. These target countries have been selected taking into account the previous experience of the university with foreign students and partner universities.
The expected results of the project are an increase in the number of students in higher education institutions and vocational schools, the proportion of international students in both higher education institutions reaches the European average (9%), four EdTech solutions are introduced in vocational schools and universities, etc.
The results of the project are planned to be integrated into other micro cities of Europe.
The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund in the framework of the "Innovative Urban Actions" initiative.
This information reflects the views only of the author, and the authorities of the “Innovative Urban Actions” initiative must not be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.