Strategic International VET (#101)

What is your golden strategy for internationalisation?

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

VET Reform now done and implementation under process, it is time to turn our minds and heads towards the next strategic years to come. Let’s see what tools do we have to affect the internationalisation of Vocational Education and Training (VET). Continue reading

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Bearing in Mind The TAKK Spirit (#100/100)

Bearing in mind 🙂

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

This little teddy bear is the last one of its kind, the TAKK bear. It is the last of the big pack of TAKK teddy bears we used to have and give to partners. Actually, I took one to Spain in 2007.

I believe this bear is The One with the true TAKK Spirit (we are famous for it) and therefore he or she (I don’t know which one it is?) has to be held kindly and with compassion. BEARing in mind, bearing in heart, bearing through the hard times and “bearing” in the meaning of “carrying something new inside”.

Thank you for the journey of 100 blogs this year with You all.

Happy New Year, fellows!

Finland in International Trade – Competence? (#98/100)

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Very interesting indeed to read about The 90 facts of Finland in the International Trade, thank you very much #ICC90 and Aalto University.

I just have to intervene into one more thing this year in our TAKK International Blog. Now, no matter what competence we develop here in the depths of TAKK and other VET providers, if our trained professionals do not develop international trade, we are doomed to the depths. Finland used to manage the internal finances by exchanging squirrel skins to bread and butter. Those times are sooo passé that we cannot even figure out how gone. I would love to say that please, produce yourself everything that you use, but the economy just does not keep up that way nor does to community without taxes. Naturally, the commerce can be done online, sustainably and also moderately, but all in all, for the GDP, export has to exceed the import or in other terms, we have to use less than we make. That is the layman truth, well, don’t we know that in VET.

Few reflections on competence development for the international trade on the basis of the study. Fact: EU-Exports make 17% of jobs in Finland. Message? Continue developing the flow of EU projects and mobilities. Fact: Export-related jobs employ mainly medium skilled (59%) workers. That is our graduates. Message? Keep on making students understand how important the export trade to Finland is. Fact: The top 3 foreign countries operating in Finland by end-2015 are: 1) Sweden 2) USA 3) Germany. Message? Do not let the European language skills fade in VET, Swedish and German are very much there on the front. For more interesting specifics, pls see the report.

PS. I love it the way they say in their report, ”We all are the Merchants of Peace” and ”We believe that trade can strengthen relation between nations” (slide 4). Hearts to You all in the report team.

Digging into the VET Legislation with Glogg (#97/100)

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

The Law on Vocational Education and Training (531/2017) inspired a dozen of internationally-oriented VET professionals and national administrators of education yesterday over the hot mugs of glogg in Omnia, Espoo (thank you, Mervi, Kirsi and Katri). The event ”Lakia ja glögiä” (Law and glogg) or ”Lakikinkerit”, of which the latter is extremely difficult to translate**, focused on understandig and interpreting the fresh VET legislation in the right format for global education purposes and more specifically, for qualification-based global education.

Glogg helps the study of law…

The law is clear: We are allowed to sell Finnish secondary level qualifications outside of EU and EEA. After that, it gets more interesting. Thanks to the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and their lawyer, we got some more understanding to the various articles of the law. Hey, there are 14 chapters and 142 articles on the law to understand, so for a VET professional, that is a big nut to crack.

Individualisation (henkilökohtaistaminen) is The Big Clue of the Finnish VET.

Continue reading

Christmas Brunch (#96/100)

Breakfast and lunch digested into one meal, makes up the brunch of TAKK, the TAKK style. Brunch turns into ”brunssi” in Finnish, which is a ”Finnslation” of the word. Originally the word ”brunch” came up in the context of the late 1800’s partyswingers, having the first meal of the day slightly later on Sunday (fits also the Finnish ”pikkujoulu”, little Christmas). However, our brunch in TAKK has no prior party agenda, nor the cheerfulness of the socialites. We’ve had out breakfast before the ”brunssi” and we will work for the whole day.

Brunching in TAKK

TAKK brunch today gathered together a whole bunch of brunchers – both students and staff members of TAKK. There were many typical breakfast items served, such as rice pastries, eggs, rye bread and fruits, but also the approaching Christmas was there on the serving tables: rice porridge with cinnamon, ham slices, glogg (glögi) and bundt cake. Pls see here for yourself.

10 days to Christmas.

Experience of ”Learning Together” (#95/100)

Yhdessä oppien in TAKK

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Colleagues in TAKK have had an opportunity to be trained this fall in a unique training programme called Yhdessä oppien or ”Learning Together”. The programme has produced pedagogical solutions, to be directly applied in VET, thus making the way smoother for the immigrant students of TAKK. The name Learning together comes from the theme of co-creating the cross-cultural competence between and with the colleagues for the integration training needs. The needs concern many areas: learning the language, integrating into the society, preparing for the vocational studies and acquiring vocational competence for the working life, including qualifications.

I say unique, because there is a deep understanding of cross-cultural competence behind this programme.

The driver and teacher of the programme, Ms Mari Poikolainen, has drawn insight from anthropology into practice. The series of sessions have followed each other. First (1), Immigrant student in the application phase, second (2), Acquiring the competence in training, third (3), Learning at the workplace and fourth (4), Passing a qualification. The programme has organised sessions, where TAKK trainers have learnt from each other; paving the way for the individual study paths for students of immigrant background; and most of all, have shared the experiences between the integration phase teachers and vocational trainers.

Experience I say, as no matter what and how much you have studied (anthropologist here, too), you can never acquire the competence and understanding before you have lived through and discussed the everyday problems with your colleagues in the same situation. TAKK spirit here certainly helps: Ask, and you will be answered. There are many solutions the knowledgeable trainers have discovered along the way and here – by the coffees and sandwiches – they have been shared.

Thank You, Mari P.