The winds of change are blowing in the field of education. Schools are preparing to deepen their collaboration with working life, and at YA! (short for Yrkesakademin i Österbotten) the eagerness to start this new journey is obvious.
“As of 2018, there will be no difference made between young and adult students. Our focus will be on providing a flexible and comprehensive education for students of all ages to fill the needs of our region’s businesses,” says Principal Boris Ståhl.
YA! Vocational College of Ostrobothnia was formed in 2009 as a result of a merger between three schools. It has units in five different cities and offers a vast palette of education in fields ranging from technology and communication to domestic services and social science.
“We want our students to be confident initiators that have the skills and know-how to start their own businesses, or to be the kind of service-providers wanted by the companies out there.”
During the recent years, the number of adult students has risen. The programs at YA! offer these students the opportunity to deepen their expertise within a specific field, or to acquire a completely new professional competence.
“Contacts to working life are becoming more important as we speak. That is why we want our students to participate in designing their own education program in order to adapt the studies to their specific needs. I think this is also why the opportunity to complete an education through apprenticeship is so popular. It offers a way to obtain the exact knowledge needed in the field.”
The new way of working has already started to pay off. In 2017, YA! was recognised as the second best vocational upper-secondary education and training school in Finland by the Ministry of Education. However, that is not enough; YA! wants to take their operations to the next level and has started a successful collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences, Novia.
This offers the students an opportunity to take courses at a higher level and to link them to their exams. “This gives our students, for example in the mercantile field or in technology, the opportunity to study at a higher pace and at the same time, it opens doors to the next level of education,” says Ståhl.
Business sector: Vocational uppersecondary education and training in Swedish
Employees: Approx. 230
Students: 4,468 (Närpes: 768, Vaasa: 2,615, Pedersöre: 330, Jakobstad: 246, other 509)
Participants in courses: 2,883