“The threshold between Optima and business life is very low. We seek the kind of partnership that will bring employers together with employees having the needed skills”, say Anna-Lena Forsman and Ann-May Pitkäkangas.

Optima is meeting the needs of the region

OPTIMA is a vocational education and training centre for young people and adults in the Jakobstad region. As an education provider, the training centre provides a wide range of qualifications ina multi-programme setting. In addition to exam-based education, Optima’s subsidiary, Optima Plus Ltd., annually provides company-specific paid training to 3,500 employees to help further develop their skills to meet the needs of the region.

The new vocational education and training programmes provided by Optima place a strong emphasis on combining students with working life. This education model enables trainers to provide each student with an individual study plan that will enable them to work towards a qualification at their own pace.

“We have a high throughput rate among our many young students in vocational education.A further 25% of our students, who are mostly adults, are taking part in apprenticeship training”, says Anna-Lena Forsman, Principal for Learning.

OPTIMA has developed a close cooperation with business life and enjoys an excellent reputationas an education provider. The training centre fully understands how important it is to maintain a continuous dialogue with regional companies in order to ensure that the needs of the labour market are fully catered for.

“VIA THE APPRENTICESHIP training, our teachers are in daily contact with companies. But we also have a newly established forum, the Working Life Arena, where we regularly meet with business representatives to discuss present and future competence needs. One result of these meetings is the new apprenticeship training programme in the field of agricultural technology”, says Ann-May Pitkäkangas, Principal for Education services.

FOR STUDENTS and companies needing more labour, there is now a new exciting option called 2+1. This means that a student, after two years of study, can complete their remaining course entirely in a company as a one-year apprenticeship.

“For example, if an employer would like to keep a student that has just finished their on-the-job training in the company, then it is possible. The student can now complete any outstanding part of their training in the company. The student already has a good basic knowledge of their area of work, and the employer can further develop the person to exactly match their needs”, says Pitkäkangas.



Business sector: Vocational upper-secondary education and training

Employees: 240

Students: Approx. 1,400 in educational training and apprenticeship training and approx. 3,000 in working life and course services

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