Learning in cooperation
The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia (KPEDU) provides vocational training. Education is undergoing many changes in Finland, but Head of the Apprenticeship Office, Anu Haapasalo, says that they will bring about positive consequences.
“Before, a company had to sign a longer apprenticeship contract with the student. After the reformation, a student can complete their degree in small segments and graduate faster than before.”
Haapasalo says that students benefit from this arrangement, because they are able to graduate more swiftly, and complete studies with different employers. KPEDU already works in close cooperation with many companies in the area, and she predicts that the reformations will make working together easier.
“Vocational training is not shifting all responsibility to companies – instead, we can increase our cooperation with them,” she emphasises.
One of the companies that work closely together with KPEDU is Best-Hall. The company delivers buildings with steel lattice structures to clients all over the world and covers all aspects of building from design to maintenance.
“We’ve hired about ten people in five years from the vocational institute,” says foreman Peter Corin. Most of these employees have done their study-related work periods with Best-Hall before being hired as seasonal employees and then permanently.
“We get to know the employees well,” Corin describes.
CEO of Best-Hall Leif Fagernäs says that the company has grown in the last four years and they constantly need skilled new employees.
“We’re getting bigger and bigger projects all over the world,” he describes. “Without employees, there is no business. We’ve recently hired many young people.”
One of the key benefits of cooperation between companies and schools is the exchange of information. Fagernäs says that working together ensures that Best-Hall as well as KPEDU stay up to date with the metal industry.
“We all learn what the industry needs, and what we can offer,” he says.
Head of the Apprenticeship Office Anu Haapasalo says that knowing what companies need helps the school direct students to growing industries.
“Cooperation ensures that companies can utilise our teachers’ know-how, and vice versa. It’s important that our personnel stay up to date on how the surrounding industries are developing.”