Mainpage Education Vocational education and training

Vocational education and training in Finland

The post-compulsory level is divided into general education and initial and further vocational education and training.

After basic education, 95.5% of school-leavers continue in additional voluntary basic education (2.5%), in upper secondary schools (54.5%) or in initial vocational education and training (38.5%).

The aim of vocational education and training (VET) is to improve the skills of the work force, to respond to skills needs in the world of work and to support lifelong learning.

VET comprises initial vocational training and further and continuing training.

A total of 146 000 students attend initial vocational training every year. Of them, 4 500 attend access courses preparing for initial vocational training. The largest fields are Technology and Transport (c. 36%), Business and Administration (19%) and Health and Social Services (17%). The other fields are Tourism, Catering and Home Economics (13%), Culture (7%), Natural Resources (6%) and Leisure and Physical Education (2%).

In further training provided in the Ministry of Education and Culture sector, the annual number of students is about 40,000.

There are 119 study programmes leading to 53 different vocational qualifications confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The number of further and specialist qualifications, which are taken as competence-based qualifications, is 305.

VET is intended both for young people and for adults already active in working life. They can study for vocational qualifications and further and specialist qualifications, or study in further and continuing education without aiming at a qualification.

Initial VET

  • The vocational qualification has been designed to respond to labour market needs.
  • The qualification is 120 credits, which takes three years of full-time study, unless prior learning can be counted towards the qualification.
  • The qualification is based on working life occupations and the competencies required.
  • The qualification includes at least 20 credits of on-the-job learning.
  • The training is built on the basic education syllabus.
  • Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments can be counted towards the qualification.
  • Matriculated students can also study in initial VET. Their prior studies are equivalent to some 30 credits, which are counted towards the vocational qualification.
  • A vocational qualification gives general eligibility for polytechnic and university studies.

At the Ministry of Education and Culture, matters relating to VET are administered by the Vocational Education Division.

Mainpage Education Vocational education and training