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Vocational Education and Training in Finland

Upper secondary education and training
In Finland, more than 90 per cent of the relevant age group starts general or vocational upper secondary studies immediately after basic education. Completion of upper secondary education, both general and vocational, gives students eligibility to continue to higher education.


Vocational education and training covers eight fields of education, more than fifty vocational qualifications including over a hundred different study programmes. The scope of vocational qualifications is usually three years of study and each qualification includes at least half a year of on-the-job learning in workplaces. Vocational education and training can be completed in the form of school-based training or apprenticeship training.

Vocational qualifications are developed in co-operation with the world of work and other key stakeholders. This is done in order to ensure that the qualifications support flexible and efficient transition into the labour market as well as occupational development and career change.

The studies are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. The students’ learning and competences acquired are assessed throughout the period of study. The assessment is based on criteria defined in the national qualification requirements. One of the main assessment methods is the vocational skills demonstrations. These are work assignments relevant to the vocational skills requirements and are given in authentic settings. Skills demonstrations are designed, implemented and assessed in co-operation with representatives of the world of work.

In Sasky vocational qualifications are offered only in Finnish.

Vocational education and training for adults
Competence-based qualifications provide adults a flexible way to enhance and maintain their vocational skills. A specific benefit of this system is that it makes it possible to recognise an individual’s vocational competences regardless of whether they have been acquired through work experience, studies or other activities.

An individual study plan is prepared for each student taking a competence-based qualification. The candidates demonstrate their skills in competence tests, which are assessed by training experts and representatives from enterprises together with the candidates themselves. There are three levels of competence-based qualifications: vocational qualifications, further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications.

Finnish Education in a Nutshell (2012) and
Finland in Focus – Towards 2020 in Vocational Education and Training (2010)


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