Competence needs of the future
The success of the chemical industry is dependent on a high level of expertise. Among the strengths of our educational system are teachers’ professional skills-based general education and the work-focused vocational education. In the coming years, the economic pressure will manifest as the network of vocational education providers becoming sparser.
One goal of the Chemical Industry Federation’s work to influence educational policy is to develop vocational education so that it meets the needs of the rapidly changing labour market. The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland participates in research committees and influences the work of the chemical, paper and wood industry education committee set up by the Finnish National Agency for Education. The opportunities for education in the regions are actively monitored. Companies are encouraged to cooperate with local educational institutions.
The chemical industry in Finland has about 34,000 employees, more than half of whom have an education in the field of technology or natural science. 43 per cent of the recruitment in the industry focuses on people who have a vocational degree, 27 per cent on people who have a degree from a university of applied sciences and 30 per cent on people who have a university degree. Demonstrations of vocational skills included in the basic degrees and competence-based qualifications for adults are arranged in cooperation with companies.
Among the vocational educational programmes that are central to the industry are the basic degrees in process industry, laboratory technology and plastic and rubber engineering. In Finland, the number of educational institutions that offer these degrees is small in relation to the total number of vocational education institutions: the annual number of students who complete a degree in process industry is 100–200. The Chemical Industry Federation’s view is that the availability of these degrees should not be allowed to depend on the decisions of educational institutions but that it should be decided on nationally.
The contents of the degrees are defined by representatives of industrial relations and educational institutions in cooperation, and representatives of industrial relations are also involved in the evaluation of skills. In international comparison, Finland is a pioneer when it comes to work-oriented education.