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Vocational education and training in Finland

Vocational education and training or VET in Europe Spotlight on Finland Finnish VET is highly regarded: 90% of Finns think it offers high quality learning and 40% enrol in VET after basic education. The reasons include qualified and competent teaching, flexible qualifications, strong employment prospects and eligibility for further studies. The most popular vocational qualifications are technology, communications and transport, social services, and health and sports. 70% of VET learners are under 30, half of them male, half female. Internationalisation opportunities result in up to 80% studying at least two foreign languages and 10% studying abroad every year. Quality VET teaching is ensured by competitive salaries and selection that results in only around a third of applicants being accepted into initial VET teacher training. VET teachers must have prior work experience in their field before they begin teaching. Admission to initial VET programmes is via a lower secondary education certificate; for continuing VET it is case-by-case, reflecting work experience. Finnish VET is personalised. A development plan is created for each learner at the beginning of studies and can be adjusted at any time. Competences already acquired are validated for free and study covers only what learners don’t yet know. Modularisation allows personalised qualifications, potentially adding modules from other vocational qualifications or universities of applied sciences degrees. The competence-based approach determines the share of work-based learning for each learner: it is not defined in law. Apprenticeships are mainly provided in continuing VET but are becoming more common in initial VET. All programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies but most VET graduates enter the labour market. Initial and continuing VET share common legislation, principles and funding. The 2018 reform is increasing performance-based funding and effectiveness-based funding. For more details about VET in Finland, visit

Reynold King

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