Choices for VET (#103)

Choose wisely, said Indy Jones

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

There are Small Choices and then there are Big Choices to be done on Vocational Education and Training.

The State of Finland is now in front of Big Choices, in order to respond to the changing worklife and the competence needs of all citizens throughout their lives – fast enough. We are irreversibly getting out-of-date in our skills in the big scale, without big actions. The government has set a goal of retraining a million Finns*. One million. Can be done, but won’t be easy.

We here in TAKK, right in the core of vocational adult education, get the biggest chills out of this request among the vocational players, as the results ARE best in labour market training for the aging, less educated and long-term unemployed people. Hey, it is a Big Choice, but as a country, we have the chance to back off from further cuts and get cracking some more funding for the cause – without delay. VET players know that the machines roll best in three shifts and with flexible managing systems.

Let’s not slow down the VET machine any further.

The Small Choices are done in millions of homes in Finland, starting from the last years of basic education. Every student – I hope – has the chance and duty to think, – Do I follow my passions and choose with my heart? – Do I take the safe combination of subjects and get a profession and a job right away? – Do I know enough to make these professional choices? – Should I even know so much at the age of sixteen, to choose between so many different career paths?

The smallest first study choice of a teenager can lead to big and versatile career paths, whether it is through the upper secondary or the vocational path. This is the big message we need to give to our young ones: Start somewhere, where you can use your best abilities, you can always continue to many directions. This is the big message we have to give also to the older ones: Adults have a complicated life, there’s the loans and the spouses and the children and the many workplaces. Therefore, the studies fit in the life of the adults, that is what you have the right for, in this promised land of education. That’s what we have to guarantee and consequently provide.

*See e.g. Article in Talouselämä, the report of MEC and the news in MEC website.

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