M. Hannula of Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) and M. Lahtinen of Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce pointed out in their blog (Nov 2nd 2017) that companies with their jobs will be as real customers of Finnish VET as the students are with the reform of education in force on the 1st of January 2018.
Naturally, the reform will bring about many changes and chances: fewer qualifications with more variablity, individual study paths and less regulations. All welcome. The need for our trainers to be even more on the foot, is understood, but the reality may be a bit different. How to guarantee the real-time coaching of all of our students in one week on the foot with the given resources? How to make a shift from trainer to coach, which is but a methodological change, also a change in operation culture. Where is our focus as trainers or coaches? On the students? Or on the employers?
Tight cooperation between the employers and us as VET institution is a must. Absolutely. We most certainly want to continue cooperating with the HRs and the competence development staff members or our company clients. However, I would like to keep them separate, the employability and the employment. Employablity is what we as VET trainers can support with competence development, at the workplace and with the student, but employment is the employer’s matter to deal with.
Once in 1990’s, one employer in Helsinki region asked me in the interview for a private daycare: – When there is a conflict in the interest of the parents, the daycare and the child, where is your loyality? I answered, – With the child. Which was the wrong answer to him. Ever since I have been wondering, is that the case? Does the profession ethics run second with the employer? Perhaps this VET reform is the case where the employers can give us the focus. I believe it is with the ability to listen to the needs of all our clients with big ears and small mouth, and keep in mind the genuine employability – every day.