A bridge to the future: European policy for vocational education and training National policy report Finland

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1 A bridge to the future: European policy for vocational education and training National policy report Finland VET POLICY R E P O RT F I N L A N D F INNISH NA T IONAL BOA R D O F E DUCA T ION 1

2 The authors Dr Kristiina Volmari, Senior Adviser, Finnish National B oard of Education Mr Matti Kyrö, Counsellor of Education, Finnish National B oard of Education Mr Jaakko Turpeinen, This report Ais ssistant, one of a set of European country reports on VET policy development prepared within Cedefop s ReferNet Finnish National network. B oard ReferNet of Education is a European network of national networks providing - information and analysis on national VET to Cedefop and disseminating information on European VET and Cedefop work to stakeholders in the EU Member States, Norway and Iceland. The report has been produced by ReferNet Finland as a contribution to Cedefop s fourth policy report which reviews progress This report in VET is one towards of a set the of policy European goals country of the reports Copenhagen process. The opinions expressed in on this VET national research. report A lthough are not it has necessarily been produced those of under Cedefop. the guidance of Cedefop, the opinions are those of the contractor only and do not necessarily represent Cedefop s The preparation of this report has been co-financed by the European Community. official position. Acknowledgements: The authors: The preparation of this report has been co-financed by Dr Kristiina the Volmari, European Senior Community. Adviser, Finnish National Board of Education Mr Matti Kyrö, Counsellor of Education, Finnish National Board of Education Mr Jaakko Turpeinen, Assistant, Finnish National Board of Education. Cedefop, initiator and template provider

3 Preface The Copenhagen process was launched as the contribution of Vocational Education and Training (VET) to the challenges identified in the Lisbon-Agenda. In the Copenhagen Declaration, approved on 30 November 2002, the ministers responsible for VET in 31 European countries (EU Member States, candidate countries, EFTA-EEA countries), the European social partners and the European Commission agreed on enhanced European cooperation in VET. This National policy report forms part of the Cedefop ReferNet 2010 work programme. It provides information on Finland's progress in VET towards EU policy goals within the framework of the Copenhagen process and according to the policy priorities defined in the Maastricht Communiqué (2004) and the Helsinki Communiqué (2006). It considers measures taken in the context of the Education and Training 2010 programme since the Copenhagen Declaration. The report is divided into the following nine policy areas identified by education ministers as priorities for national policy design in the VET sector: Socioeconomic challenges for future VET policy development; Economic crisis - VET policies as recovery measures; Impact and implications of the joint work on European principles and tools; Strengthening the links between VET and the labour market; Addressing equity, social inclusion and active citizenship; Quality, excellence and attractiveness of VET; Enhancing creativity and innovation; Financing VET and Progress in modernising European VET systems in the Copenhagen process and priorities for future cooperation. The national ReferNet policy reports were one of the main sources Cedefop used to produce the 2010 review of the Copenhagen Process. Cedefop prepared the analysis of policy progress: A bridge to the future: European VET policy for the Bruges ministerial meeting in December Helsinki 15 November 2010

4 Contents THEME 1: SOCIOECONOMIC CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE VET POLICY DEVELOPMENT Impact of globalisation on VET Example of policy measure: Vocational College Strategy Example of policy measure: Revision of National Core Curricula Impact of technological progress on VET Impact of demographic change and international migration on VET Impact of greening of economy on VET Example of policy measure: Revision of National Core Curricula Example of policy measure: National recommendation for quality in VET Example of policy measure: Qualifications of primary industries Other challenges for VET...14 THEME 2: ECONOMIC CRISIS VET POLICIES AS RECOVERY MEASURES Initiatives for recovery...15 THEME 3: IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE JOINT WORK ON EUROPEAN PRINCIPLES AND TOOLS Impact of joint work on European principles and tools on national LLL policies, practices and VET developments Promoting geographical mobility of learners/apprentices and teachers/trainers in VET...19 THEME 4: STRENGTHENING THE LINKS BETWEEN VET AND THE LABOUR MARKET Identifying and anticipating skill needs Integrating skill needs of the labour market into VET provision Involving labour market actors in VET...31 finnish national board of education 3

5 4.4 Promoting workplace learning Apprenticeship training Example of policy measure: Skills demonstrations in vocational education and training (2006 ) THEME 5: ADDRESSING EQUITY, SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP Addressing equity in VET Improving equity and support services for groups at risk Low-skilled adults Early school-leavers Immigrants Active citizenship...49 THEME 6: QUALITY, EXCELLENCE AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF VET Improving the quality of VET Quality in vocational education and training Policy progress Promoting excellence in VET Higher level qualifications in VET Improving horizontal and vertical permeability of education and training systems Example of policy measure: increasing cooperation within upper secondary education and training Example of policy measure: accessing the formal education system through competence-based qualifications Teachers and trainers Example of policy measure: setting up of advisory council for developing CPD for teaching staff Example of policy measure: OSAAVA programme finnish national board of education 4

6 THEME 7: ENHANCING CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in VET Example of policy measure: VET organisations as actors in innovation system (KIT project) Improving quality of teaching Innovation-friendly institutions Encouraging partnership...71 THEME 8: FINANCING VET Improving efficiency, equity, levels of VET funding Use of Lifelong Learning Programme funds Example of policy measure: Gearing Adult Education Towards Occupational Mobility Use of other EU funds Example of policy measure: Skills demonstrations (see also 4.4.2) Example of policy measure: Oivallus project (cf ) Improving VET governance...78 THEME 9: PROGRESS IN MODERNISING EUROPEAN VET SYSTEMS IN THE COPENHAGEN PROCESS AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE COOPERATION Impact of European cooperation in VET on development of national VET policies Example of policy measure: developing the national qualification framework (NQF) Example of policy measure: introduction of ECVET Governance, cooperation and ownership of the different actors in the Copenhagen process at European level External dimension of European cooperation in VET AUTHORS, BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES AND SOURCES Authors Sources, references and websites...86 finnish national board of education 5

7 THEME 1: SOCIOECONOMIC CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE VET POLICY DEVELOPMENT 1.1 Impact of globalisation on VET Globalisation has meant an essential change in the Finnish economic structure. Production in important branches, such as the forest and technology industries, has been moved to countries where labour costs are lower than in Finland. The traditionally strong sector in Finnish economy, the forest industry, has been affected by globalisation in several ways. The labour and energy costs are lower in Asia and South America and the supply of raw material for the industry has become more difficult in Finland. The technological development has been an essential change factor as well. Electronic communication has partly replaced printed communication. Over jobs have disappeared in the forest industry during the 2000s, which corresponds to one fourth of the jobs in this sector. The technology industry has also cut the number of jobs in Finland because production costs are too high in respect to the tightening competition in the sector. Some industries, such as the textile industry, have totally disappeared from Finland because of globalisation. In the textile industry the development started earlier, but the reasons for closing down factories in Finland have been the same as in the case of the forest industry, namely the lower wages in developing countries. When the direct consequences of globalisation have been the closures of production units, the Government has had to direct special support actions to the areas affected by the closures. The production units, which have been closed down, have often been the most important employers in the area. Therefore the Government has supported the retraining of the employees made redundant and the launching of new enterprises in the facilities of the closed factories. finnish national board of education 6

8 Globalisation is not explicitly stated as a reason for development measures in education and training. However, as the links between VET and the labour market and economy are close, globalisation needs to be taken into account in development initiatives. According to the Government s programme the education system will be developed as a whole so that it can respond to the global challenge as well as the occupational and demographic changes. For example the requirements of vocational qualifications are currently being revised (see 1.1.2). In the process the globalisation and its effects are taken into account. Another concrete action for the VET sector has been to continue with the Vocational College Strategy (see also 1.1.1). The central aims in the strategy are to secure the supply of qualified labour force for the world of work to improve VET services to better respond to the needs of the world of work and the clients to promote lifelong learning and to strengthen individualised study paths to secure the accessibility to VET provision in all parts of the country, taking into account the needs of both language groups Example of policy measure: Vocational College Strategy According to the Development plan for education and research , the Government aims to intensify the network of VET providers. To enhance the service capacity of the network of training providers in accordance with the vocational college strategy, providers will be merged into regional or otherwise strong training providers, whose operations cover all vocational education and training services and development activities. The operations of highly specialised training providers will be safeguarded. As training providers, vocational colleges can organise their operations freely, according to the finnish national board of education 7

9 requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institution networks and other services. Providers must ensure that the organisation of the training provision helps maintain and continually develop high-quality services geared both to those about to start their working career and to those already active in the labour market. Measures will be taken to ensure that the provider network guarantees a high-quality and diverse supply of both youth and adult education and training that meets the needs of both the world of work and individuals. The arrangements and the division of work in special needs vocational training provided by the government have been reviewed as part of this structural development. The decision was taken at the end of 2008 to develop the state special vocational institutions as resource centres and centres of expertise Example of policy measure: Revision of National Core Curricula The Finnish National Board of Education is responsible for the revision of all national requirements of vocational qualifications, both the upper secondary qualifications and competence-based qualifications. The aim is to revise the structure of the requirements, the organisation of studies, the requirements of skills as well as the targets and criteria of assessment. All new core curricula should be in use in autumn 2010 (see also 1.4.1). The revision of core curricula is based on the goals presented in the Development plan for education and research According to the development plan VET shall offer broad skills basis to the students enabling them to work in varying tasks. These skills should also be such that they are useful from one workplace to another and from a basis for lifelong learning. Upper secondary qualifications will be developed so that they flexibly support the transition to the labour market and improve the updating of the skills of the adult population. The flexibility of the vocational qualifications will further be increased by increasing the opportunities to choose elements from other programmes. finnish national board of education 8

10 1.2 Impact of technological progress on VET The rapid technological change has influenced particularly on the on-the-job training. In the last reform of the core curricula a minimum of half a year of on-the-job training was included into all vocational programmes. One of the aims was to increase the flexibility to react to rapid technological change. The ideology was that a close contact to the realities of working environments would better equip the students to meet the challenges of technological developments. In long-term development also decentralisation has given the education providers more flexibility to adapt their training programmes to the changing technologies. Similarly to globalisation, the technological progress is not explicitly mentioned as a reason for reforms and developments (see 1.1). Finnish VET policy is developed as a whole over a long period of time. Consequently reforms are not justified by individual developments such as technological developments and globalisation. These are considered part of the changing context of education and training. 1.3 Impact of demographic change and international migration on VET Demographic change will be a challenge to the development of the the education system (Table 1). The decrease of the young generations was drastic in the 1980s and 1990s. The number of primary school students has also started to decrease radically. In addition, the age groups transferring to secondary education will diminish at the end of Soon afterwards the size of the age group transferring to higher education will start to shrink. finnish national board of education 9

11 Table 1. Population trends by age group as a percentage. Age group * 2030* 2040* 2050* 2060* * forecast Source: Statistics Finland The total population of Finland will increase according to the population forecast but the number of older people will be increasing most rapidly. In absolute terms the number of children will go up during next five decades but their share of total population will decrease slowly. The generations born after World War II will retire in next few years. In national policy there are several initiatives which aim to lengthen working careers. According to forecasts Finland is facing a lack of skilled labour in many sectors. Therefore changes have been made to pension regulations aiming to encourage people to continue working after their retirement age. At the same time it has been stressed that the working conditions should be developed so that older people can continue longer in their work. The retraining and continuing training of adults will also become more important as a precondition for the continuation of working careers. Example of policy measure: Self-motivated education supported by unemployment benefits A person has the right to unemployment benefit while studying if he or she has registered as a job-seeker at the employment office, is at least 25 years of age and the training has been agreed on in his or her personal employment plan. There is no subjective right to training while receiving unemployment benefit. The job-seeker has to apply to the studies according to same requirements as the other applicants. The decision regarding the student selection is always the responsibility of the VET institution. finnish national board of education 10

12 1.4 Impact of greening of economy on VET The strategy document of the Ministry of Education Sustainable Development in Education (2006) sets out the following development measures to promote sustainable development in VET by 2014: Follow-up of how well sustainable development permeates into the world of work through vocational skills demonstrations Continue to diversify the production of teaching material and provide further training in sustainable development for teachers and workplace instructors operating in different occupational fields The environmental certificate system of educational establishments shall be developed further. By 2014, the environmental certificates should encompass the social and cultural aspects of sustainable development. Ideally 15 per cent of educational establishments will have acquired some certificate or diploma as recognition of their efforts for sustainable development by This means that teachers working in vocational education have to be provided with sufficient further education. Investments made into institutions and units providing training in the natural resources and the environmental sector should also benefit the wider public as these units should become resource centres for environmental and sustainable development know-how by Sustainable development is one of the key skills for lifelong learning in the national core curricula for upper secondary vocational qualifications. Students or candidates should commit to acting for the ecological, economic, social and cultural principles of sustainable development in their occupation. They should comply with key statutes, regulations and agreements governing sustainable development when carrying out work assignments within their field. finnish national board of education 11

13 Sustainable development is also included into vocational qualification modules according to field-specific emphases. Sustainable development is assessed as part of vocational skills demonstrations and/or other competence. The vocational qualification in natural and environmental protection within the field of natural resources and the environment offers a 30-credit module for sustainable development named Acting in a sustainable manner. Sustainable development is included in core subjects as well as in optional studies. The objective for students is to observe working and operating methods in line with the principles of sustainable development, learn to conserve energy, prevent generation of waste and command the life cycles of products relevant to their vocational skills and work to minimise environmental risks Example of policy measure: Revision of National Core Curricula The National Core Curricula for upper secondary vocational qualifications are being revised during (see also 1.1.2). The common section included in all National Core Curricula determines the principles and procedures common to all upper secondary vocational qualifications complete with the key values of education providers. The common section also imposes obligations on education providers to take the following actions, among other things, which involve various aspects of sustainable development. The instruction in VET institutions shall include activities which reinforce collaborative culture, which provide the opportunity to consider values and become acquainted with the cultural heritage (Vocational Education and Training Decree 811/1998, section 9). Education providers have to draw up a development plan for their own staff. Education providers have to prepare plans of action to promote equality and equity in education and training as part of their curricula. Education providers have to carry out measures to promote sustainable development. finnish national board of education 12

14 1.4.2 Example of policy measure: National recommendation for quality in VET 2008 The national recommendation for quality management in VET aims at supporting and encouraging VET providers to develop the quality of their operations towards excellence (see 6.1.2). The recommendation links sustainability to quality improvement. Sustainable development is visible in different stages of quality management. In their planning the VET providers should include a programme for sustainable development as part of their operational system, in order to steer achievement of objectives and measures relating to environmental issues, social responsibility and occupational health and safety and the well-being of staff and students. VET providers should implement the recommendation by making sure that the principle of sustainable development is applied as part of all operations. Thus they should make efforts to promote social, ecological, economical and cultural sustainability Example of policy measure: Qualifications of primary industries There are 34 Agricultural Institutes providing VET for over new students every year. The promotion of sustainable development is based on the openness of the school farms. These provide information of production on milk, meat or other farm products. This information is available in the Web Village ( The data is used to prepare learning materials (photos, video clips, etc) and information about the consumption of water, energy and nutrients and fertilizers at school farms. In that way school farms can compare their activities with each other. The project is based on a unique model of cooperation of all VET institutions of the natural resources sector and local farmers. Web tools and web as a tool are used to promote sustainable agriculture and developing learning environ- finnish national board of education 13

15 ments in the web and real life. The school farms also serve as models for local farmers of how to promote sustainable development, how to minimise consumption of nutrients and fertilizers, energy and water. The further qualification in waste and recycling management is often organised in cooperation with companies and organisations of the region. This multi-form education consists of contact lessons, distance- and work-based learning periods. The competences required for the qualification are demonstrated in skills demonstrations. The training gives the knowledge and skills to work with tasks within waste management, recycling, improvement and management of water systems or water supplies and sewerage in companies, in the local services or in other organisations. 1.5 Other challenges for VET Geographically Finland is a relatively big country but the internal migration during last decades has meant increasing inequality between the different areas. For instance in Eastern Finland and Lapland the unemployment rate was 13 and 11 per cent respectively, while the unemployment rate in the metropolitan area and surrounding region was only 6.2 per cent in the last quarter of A balanced regional development is one of the focuses of the present government. An effort is made to ensure a comprehensive VET provision throughout the country. finnish national board of education 14

16 THEME 2: ECONOMIC CRISIS VET POLICIES AS RECOVERY MEASURES 2.1 Initiatives for recovery In midterm, in the summer 2009, the government assessed the results of its programme and set up new aims for tackling the challenges of the economic crisis. The government proposed that adult education will be developed in such a way that the flexibility of the labour market is improved and the risk of structural unemployment diminished. The government aims at better anticipating labour market changes, increasing the productivity and meeting labour market needs. The government also plans to improve the opportunities of those unemployed who apply for self-motivated education and training so that they would have similar benefits as those in labour market training. The amount and continuity of guidance should also be taken into account so that the chain from basic education to working life remains unbroken. A particular challenge in Finland is the transition from upper secondary level to higher education. The aim is to speed up this transition among new general upper secondary graduates by improving for example the admission procedure. The government also proposes that in-service training should be improved among adults with higher education qualifications in order to direct more intakes that lead to qualifications to younger age-groups. In addition, work practice of higher education students will be developed in order to improve their employment. The Preparatory instruction and guidance for VET (Ammattistartti) along with other preparatory VET studies will be further developed (see ). Also on-the-job training will be developed in VET. The aim is to secure upper secondary education for every basic education graduate. National recommendations for the principles and procedures of recognising prior learning will be prepared together with education providers, higher education institutions, working life actors and other stakeholders. finnish national board of education 15

17 If the worsening employment situation is followed by a rapid decrease in the demand for apprenticeship training in particular sectors and in small companies, the unit price for organising additional vocational education in apprenticeship training will be temporarily increased in order to improve the employers possibilities to train apprentices. A temporary language training programme for immigrants is put into effect in Several studies and programmes point to the fact that the lack of language training as well as long waiting lists for language courses are the main hindrances for immigrants to get employment or continue their studies. In order to secure the jobs of those most vulnerable in the unsteady labour market, the study prospects among part-time employees will be improved. This will be encouraged by granting adjusted student financial aid to adults. There will be an enquiry whether employers can be encouraged, for example by means of taxation, to offer in-service training instead of temporary layoffs or redundancies. By means of labour market training and the training offered by educational authorities, an effort will be made to increase know-how and avoid redundancies. Example of policy measure: Increasing intake into VET The Ministry of Education has decided to increase the number of initial VET study places. According to existing data of the national joint application system, one fifth of the applicants for upper secondary VET remained without a study place in spring Therefore it has been essential to increase initial VET intakes. The number of students in upper secondary VET has been increased with students in which is about 5 per cent of the total number of upper secondary VET students. finnish national board of education 16

18 THEME 3: IMPACT AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE JOINT WORK ON EUROPEAN PRINCIPLES AND TOOLS 3.1 Impact of joint work on European principles and tools on national LLL policies, practices and VET developments Internationalisation of the education system and international research cooperation are in Finland considered central factors for success in the global competition. International cooperation has been an important part of most Finnish VET institutions striving for quality improvement and excellence over the past ten years. International activity in most of the educational institutions has become one of the cornerstones of their operations. Education and training should take into account the changes caused by internationalisation and multiculturalism in the structures, skills needs and operation models in the world of work. The international cooperation in education should also support regional development and business. The Leonardo programme has played an important role in this development promoting networking and international cooperation. Participation rates in the programme are high and the interest among teachers, experts and students has been at a steady increase over the years. In addition to EU programmes the internationalisation of VET is being supported for example by making the recognition of studies taken aboard more efficient. Further, the Ministry of Education grants funds for the internationalisation of VET annually. These funds are meant for international development projects and other activities aimed at promoting international cooperation. This funding is administered by the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE). finnish national board of education 17

19 European principles and priorities have supported the implementation and integration of an international perspective into education and training. According to the national report on the impact of the Leonardo and Socrates programmes, these have been essential in meeting the nationally defined goals for the internationalisation of educational development in Finland. The programmes have encouraged and enabled Finnish actors to establish sustainable long-term international and national contacts and procedures. Also the professional development obtained from participation in the programmes has increased multicultural competence. A challenge today and in future will be the embedding of the tools into the practices of educational institutions. The above-mentioned report on the implementation of the Socrates and Leonardo programmes concluded that although the quantitative goals have been generally met, some aspects require more attention in the future. For example dissemination and valorisation of the projects results was seen as one of the biggest challenges. A further challenge is that all potential actors are not equally reached in Finland. Consequently, geographically disadvantaged areas would need more support for active participation in the EU programmes. According to the Government s current Development plan for education and research the mobility of students, graduates and teachers within VET will be increased. In addition, the possibility for international peer learning for education organisers will be advanced. The functionality and clarity of the Finnish degree system has been and will be improved by implementing the national qualifications framework (see 9.1.1). Also measures to implement the European Credit Transfer System for VET (ECVET) is underway (see 9.1.2). Example of initiative: FINECVET The Government s Development Plan for Education and Research for stresses that the introduction of the European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) is to be prepared for. The finnish national board of education 18

20 ECVET and its functionality have been tested in two already finished projects, FINECVET 1 ( ) and FINECVET 2 ( ). The aim was to support the implementation of the system in Finland. In these projects ECVET was tested within nine upper secondary vocational qualifications. The objective was to define the concepts of ECVET and application to the Finnish system, test the effectiveness of ECVET in upper secondary vocational qualifications and prepare a national information and guidance plan for education providers and representatives of working life for implementing ECVET. FINECVET 1 focused on defining the concepts and tested the applicability of the system in five upper secondary vocational qualifications. FINECVET 2 concentrated on producing concrete tools and models for ECVET 1. FINECVET 3 started in the autumn of 2009 and will continue until the end of It will focus on transnational mobility, the ECVET process and documentation. The expected main outcomes will be an ECVET handbook for Finnish VET providers and a national information and guidance plan. The coordination and financing is provided by the Finnish national Board of Education (FNBE). Similarly to the previous projects education providers and institutions together with their international partners play an important role as partners. 3.2 Promoting geographical mobility of learners/apprentices and teachers/trainers in VET The European dimension is seen more and more as part of the everyday operations of vocational institutions. For example, internationalisation and mo- 1 For more information on the results of FINECVET 1 and 2, please see the VET Policy report Finland 2008 at finnish national board of education 19

21 bility have been included in the new national core curricula for upper secondary VET in Finland. This can be found both in the general skills for lifelong learning and in the professional competences. The strengthening of the European dimension is also supported by statistics on student and staff mobility. The number of students in VET who did part of their studies abroad increased from students in 2007 to in Also the number of foreign VET students increased from in 2007 to in Most active in terms of mobility were the tourism, home economics and catering sector and the humanist and education sector. A national objective is to increase annual mobility by 30 per cent during the period (Table 2). The teacher exchange was in balance, so that teachers were mobile from and to Finland. I future pecial attention will be paid to teachers international work placements. Table 2. Student mobility in VET Year From Finland To Finland Source: CIMO Centre for International mobility Tools that promote, facilitate and make mobility and its results more transparent have been welcomed in Finland. For example the Europass documents are widely used in education institutions. The focus in future will be on pro- 2 There were a total of ca. 60,000 new students in VET in finnish national board of education 20

22 moting the use of Europass in the world of work. Of particular concern are those employees who are in the labour market and who have not been within education for some years. A concern is that the mobility from Finland is orientated towards already familiar, most often West European countries, and the language most often used during the period abroad is English. The most common target countries in 2008 in VET were Estonia, Sweden Spain and Germany. The funding for mobility in VET is predominantly from the Leonardo programme and from the state support for internationalisation (Table 3). Table 3. Number of students involved in exchange (> 2 weeks) per programme/funding in 2007 and Leonardo programme Comenius/Grundtvig NordPlus programme Other*/FNBE Students own arrangements Unknown 70 - Total *mostly by the institutions themselves Source: Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) finnish national board of education 21

23 The most important challenges for international mobility recognised in Finland include Making mobility an integral part of day-to-day work Integrating mobility with other activities such as transnational projects and networks to support the development of common tools and working methods and create new contacts More attention to quality of mobility periods and follow-up of the mobility period These challenges are taken into account both in administering the LLL programmes and when allocating national funding to support the internationalisation of institutions. Example of policy measure: State funding for the internationalisation of vocational education and training The state funding reserved for the internationalisation of education and training aims at supporting the internationalisation according to the objectives set in the core curricula and the creation of international cooperation networks. The funding for VET in 2010 is euro which is more than in the previous year. When the funds are granted, priority is given to projects that are carried out with EU partners and that support for example the following development areas: Preparing for the implementation of EQF and ECVET On-the-job learning and assessment abroad, particularly when related to ECVET Teachers on-the-job learning periods abroad Developing international cooperation in quality assurance Funding may further be granted for development projects that aim at familiarisation with good practices in education and training outside the EU, offer on-the-job placements in international enterprises outside the EU as well as other projects that support internationalisation and knowledge of other cultures. finnish national board of education 22

24 In general the feedback to the FNBE has been that a lot has been done regarding the internationalisation of VET with the state funding. The experience is that the schools would like to have state funding for mobility as such. However, the decision is and will be that development projects are funded, which can comprise mobility, but not mobility as such. Issues to be tackled are dissemination and the sustainability of the results. These should be carried out so that the development project results would, more than at present, be used for the benefit of education and training in the whole country. Another challenge is to activate all education providers. At the moment some institutions are very active while there are a large number of institutions that remain passive. finnish national board of education 23

25 THEME 4: STRENGTHENING THE LINKS BETWEEN VET AND THE LABOUR MARKET One of the central aims of the national educational policy is to ensure that the labour market has a measured supply of skilled workforce. In conjunction with education administration and other ministries, the Government draws up plans to anticipate educational and labour needs, both quantitative and qualitative. The qualitative anticipation of skill needs produces information of future skill needs, changes in skill needs, new competence areas and new competence combinations needed by the world of work. It is vital that working life is actively involved in the development of VET, and that the cooperation between companies and VET institutions is close. Workplace learning and especially apprenticeship training should be focused on, as they foster this cooperation. 4.1 Identifying and anticipating skill needs Anticipation of educational needs aims to consolidate the knowledge base relevant to decisions on educational provision, thus promoting the balance between supply and demand at the labour market. Anticipation provides information on quantitative needs for vocationally/professionally oriented education and training, which are based on long-term employment forecasts. The focus is on anticipating demand for labour over a 15-year period and using the results to derive educational needs. This anticipation concerns vocationally/professionally oriented education and training intended for young people as well as polytechnic education and university education. The Development plan for education and research (the newest for ), adopted by the Government every four years, presents the national policies for identifying and anticipating skill needs. The new development plan is based on the aims drawn up in the Government Programme (2007). The finnish national board of education 24

26 implementation of these policies is carried out in conjunction with education administration, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and regional actors. In addition, information on anticipation is provided by labour market organisations, research institutes, universities and polytechnics. The Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) is responsible for coordinating and producing national information on anticipation as well as developing and maintaining the tools for anticipation, for example the Mitenna model for quantitative anticipation. Anticipation of labour and educational needs in Finland has its roots already in the 1960s when the methodology for anticipating educational needs was developed. Until the early 1990s a specific Planning Secretariat that operated under the Ministry of Education was responsible for forecasts. At the beginning of the 1990s forecasting was decentralised to regional and local level. Since 2002 anticipation of labour and educational needs at regional level has been carried out regularly nationwide (excluding Åland Islands). At the moment the supply of labour is diminishing as the large post-war age groups are starting to retire. As a result, the importance of the anticipation of quantitative and qualitative training needs is growing. The Ministry of Education regulates the number of students in the permissions to provide education and training. The responsibility of the training providers, regarding the foresight and anticipation of changes at the labour market as well as reacting to these, has been emphasised as steering has been decentralised to local level. The performance-based funding model also steers the operations. In addition to purposes of steering, the anticipation information is utilised to detect bottlenecks in the labour force and early identification of oversupply. Regional anticipation and dialogue with regional decision-makers is stressed. At personal level, the results benefit the students through career guidance. Anticipation is seen as a way to better match labour market demands and to ensure that all people have the skills to maximise their labour market potential. It is also seen as a means to ensure the supply of skilled workforce lo- finnish national board of education 25

27 cally. The methods of anticipating skills are being further developed with the participation of all labour market players, including the regional actors and educational organisations. In adopting the Development plan for education and research the Government decided that an intermediate evaluation will be conducted halfway into the government period and the objectives set in the plan will be adjusted if necessary. This was necessary because of the constantly updated data on labour needs and the possible impact of the General reform concerning vocational adult education (AKKU) on intake needs. Thus, a committee for anticipating educational needs and measuring its supply (KT 2016) was commissioned by the Ministry in The group s task was to evaluate the objectives set in the Development plan and propose possible amendments. In its December 2009 report the committee proposes no changes to the intake targets set in the Development plan. Instead the committee draws attention to the fact that in some fields the development in the intake does not match the targets. For example, the intake is not sufficient compared to the need in social services and health, medicine, as well as metal and energy technology. In contrast, the fields of information technology, communication and information and tourism have oversupply. It is noted that the declining size of the workforce in the 2010s will soon pose problems on the labour market and thus skills mismatch and the resulting unemployment cannot be afforded. Example of policy measure: VOSE national project for anticipating vocational skill needs ( ) The importance of anticipation of skills needs is emphasised in the Government programmes. Anticipation is seen as a remarkable tool in developing education and training to correspond to the future needs of the labour market. Particularly qualitative anticipation, the anticipation of learning and skills needs, is one of the main issues today. Systematic quantitative anticipation has a long tradition in Finland, but now the focus is also on anticipation of changes in the competences required in future in the different fields. The aim finnish national board of education 26

28 is to create a system for anticipation that would enable the integration of the anticipated needs into the qualification requirements and training content. The VOSE project was set up in 2007 to support these aims. The project will support the Development programme for the anticipation of skills and training needs, one of the aims of which is to develop anticipation models for understanding the qualitative changes at the labour market and in the jobs themselves. The VOSE project, funded by the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) and the ESF, will end in The overall responsibility for the VOSE project is with the FNBE. Other parties involved are the Ministries of Education, Employment and the Economy, Social Affairs and Health and the Environment. In addition, several stakeholder associations and groups are involved, such as the Finnish Association for Vocational Adult Education and Training, research institutions, the Central Chamber of Commerce, students, employer and employee organisations. To date the project has collected models for anticipation used in Finland and some other European countries, set up networks, drawn up a first version of a national model for anticipation and started piloting this model. The piloting is conducted in two fields of education: Healthcare and social services as well as Construction. The biggest obstacles and challenges encountered are related to the scope of the project and the commitment of the participants. The commitment of such a large population involved in the project has been a challenge, starting from practical issues such as timetabling etc. A further challenge has been the regulatory basis for the funding and administration. This has not always allowed for quick and flexible manoeuvring. A basic challenge is also in the objective: to develop an anticipation model is a huge undertaking and consequently very challenging. The development and piloting of the anticipation model continues. Tools to support the anticipation work are being developed utilising social media. Fi- finnish national board of education 27

29 nally a plan to embed and make qualitative anticipation of skills and learning needs part of the Finnish anticipation system. The project will utilise comparative knowledge of other similar models used elsewhere in Europe, including Germany, the UK, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands. With respect to these anticipation models and anticipation of skill needs in general, an extensive study was carried out in 2009 (Foredata Oy 2009). 4.2 Integrating skill needs of the labour market into VET provision The anticipation of educational needs serves to match labour supply and demand in different fields across regions. The anticipation data helps in the decision-making concerning the supply of skilled labour. Recently, the results have been utilised for example in designing the Development plan for education and research; setting the performance aims in tertiary education; and deciding upon the permissions to provide IVET. In general, the anticipation results provide important information for education providers, helping them to target their supply and inform people about future career prospects. The education administration, especially the FNBE, has a central role in the implementation of anticipation results. In order to enhance its links to the world of work the following national expert bodies have been introduced: National Education and Training Committees (see section 4.3.1) National Coordination Group for Education and Training National Education and Training Committees are spread around the country and they consist of experts from a number of fields. There are altogether 34 Committees, the purpose of which is to evaluate the skills and anticipate skill needs needed in working life. The role of the FNBE in the Committees organisation was strengthened by the Government in December finnish national board of education 28

30 National Coordination Group for Education and Training aims to facilitate the cooperation and anticipation processes between the above-mentioned Committees and different stakeholders. It is set every three years and it reports back annually to the Ministry of Education, the FNBE and a tripartite Council for Labour and Training Affairs on the development of skills and training needs as well as the state of anticipation, results and development needs. Recent years have seen an increase in the utilisation of anticipation data as part of decision-making processes. The aim is to utilise the results more systematically at national, regional, provider and institutional levels, to further raise the level of anticipation know-how and to develop cooperation and methodologies. Anticipation information on educational needs is required when seeking solutions to challenges due to Finland s demographic development and the increasing impact of the global economy. At a regional level, these effects are often stronger when compared with the perspective of the whole country. Regional demographic changes or a major company s decision to relocate production away from Finland may permanently change a region s conditions for development. Vocationally/professionally oriented education and training aims to meet such future challenges by enhancing the match between educational provision and labour market demand and by paying more attention to development needs in different regions. At the FNBE, anticipation efforts have been carried out as broad cooperation between different administrative branches and regional parties. Within the educational administration, anticipation has been coordinated by the Ministry of Education, while practical anticipation work has been carried out by the FNBE, which has also provided support for regional anticipation work managed by the Regional Councils. Anticipation of industry changes has provided the point of reference for anticipation of educational needs. The Ministry of Labour has been responsible for industry forecasts. Continuing cooperation in anticipation work and its consolidation between different administrative branches are prerequisites for successful anticipation efforts, complete with cooperation with regional anticipation bodies. The FNBE is finnish national board of education 29

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