Educational leaders in training

25. Jan 2024

In January, 11 school and educational supervisors started full-time traineeships in major Estonian banks and technology companies. During these ten weeks, they will be involved in the day-to-day work of the companies, get a close-up look at the management of these organisations and carry out various projects themselves. The management of the schools is entrusted to the replacements for the duration of the traineeship.

Grete-Stina Haaristo, head of Tabasalu Gymnasium, is doing a traineeship at the technology company Wise. “I’ve now more or less unloaded myself from the role of school manager and reflected on my work. I’ve had time to look at the bigger picture, to draw parallels between the school and Wise. I’ve already come up with hundreds of ideas for things I could do at school!” – says Grete-Stina Haaristo after two weeks spent at Wise.

During her traineeship, she plans to focus on people management issues. “I’m interested in how a ‘flat-structure’ organisation works, how empowerment is supported, how managers are supervised, how employee satisfaction and well-being is addressed, how mentoring is organised. I’ll definitely be looking into data-driven management,” – says the head of Tabasalu Gymnasium, listing the topics she wants to delve into in the upcoming months. She also promises to take the opportunity to look in depth into what the company believes are the skills, knowledge and competences that the gymnasium could teach their potential future employees.

Fontes, a talent management company, will support the headteachers, their mentors as well as the employers of the headteachers, i.e. the principals, throughout the programme period. There will be workshops on various leadership and mentoring topics, as well as co-facilitation meetings. “Every leader needs a strong partner with whom to discuss important issues for the development of the organisation. That’s why we decided to include activities for school leaders to help them be better development partners for their headteacher,”- said Fontes partner Piret Jamnes.

The development programme, which will run for a total of nine months, aims to promote the quality of school leadership in Estonia. First, school leaders will have a ten-week full-time placement in an organisation with a modern management culture, before returning to their home school to apply the knowledge and ideas they have gained.

Six school leaders and four teachers are participating in the fifth phase of the traineeship programme. The internships are provided by Ericsson Estonia, Glia, LHV, SEB, Swedbank, Telia, Unemployment Insurance Fund and Wise.

In 2019, the Education Leadership Internship Programme was launched by the Heateo Education Foundation and Tallinn Education Department in cooperation with the talent management company Fontes. Including the fifth flight, a total of 52 school leaders have participated in the programme, with 14 organisations offering traineeships. The programme, which started in Tallinn, has now expanded nationwide to include Tartu schools and state schools. In the third season, Viimsi municipality joined the programme, in the fourth, Lääne-Harju municipality, and in the fifth year, the first private school joined. In 2021, the traineeship programme was one of the three nominees for the national Education Achievement of the Year award, and received the Tallinn City Education Achievement of the Year award.

The Heateo Education Foundation is a philanthropic foundation managed by the Heateo Foundation, which aims to give impetus to initiatives that help solve the biggest challenges in Estonian general education. The fund was founded in 2018 by Martin Villig, Taavet Hinrikus, Bolt and Wise together with a new generation of entrepreneurs. To date, more than 50 entrepreneurs have contributed a total of €3 million to the fund.