May 2008–NAHETS Director of Operations, Mike Martens, has made his second trip to Estonia to advise and assist the Ministry of Education with its project to improve the heavy equipment operator training program at the Paide Vocational Secondary School (PKK). The Paide school is beginning a phase in which the Estonian government will commit $30 million (USD) towards expansion and modernization of curriculum and facilities.
In addition to this project, Ministry Counselor Erkki Pissang has begun an initiative to establish the Paide school as a heavy equipment operator training center for the Baltic countries. Students would come from not only Estonia but also the countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. NAHETS is assisting with this regional training center initiative.
Rein Oslein, Director of the Paide Vocational Secondary School, is also working with various governmental agencies to upgrade Estonia’s operator certification standards based on NAHETS operator certification standards.
Mike’s time in Estonia was divided into meetings with Rein at the Paide school, at which time the framework for the regional training center was developed, and they began to define the heavy equipment operator certification standards.
Rein and Mike also met with the Head of the Estonian Vocational and Adult Education Department, Andres Pung, and with Siim Raie, The Executive Director of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce. Siim is working with Rein to develop contacts within the Estonian construction industry.
Those meetings were held in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Tallinn is a city with a history dating back to the 12th century; Old Town Tallin is the best-preserved example of a medieval Hanseatic League city
The next event is a Baltic Regional Conference, to be hosted by the Estonian Government, at which the education and industry attendees will work towards participation in the Estonian Heavy Equipment Operator Training Center in Paide.