Finland has a long history of participation and promotion of adult education. Adult education is also very popular, and the participation rate is high in international terms.
The Finnish education system supports life-long learning in multiple ways. First and foremost, the education system has no dead-ends. Therefore, learners can always continue their studies on an upper level of education not depending on their previous choices. The practice of recognition of prior learning aims to avoid of unnecessary overlapping studies. In addition, legislation concerning upper secondary education and higher education stipulates educational providers to promote life-long learning.
The main objectives of adult education policy are ensuring the availability and competence of the labour force, providing educational opportunities for the entire adult population and strengthening social cohesion and equity. The objectives should support efforts to extend working life, raise the employment rate, improve productivity, implement the conditions for lifelong learning and enhance multiculturalism.
Adult education comprises education and training leading to a degree or certificate, liberal adult education and staff-development and other training provided or purchased by employers. In addition, it includes labour market training, which is mainly targeted at unemployed people.Provision is intended to be flexible as possible in order to enable adults to study alongside work.
Continuous learning reform
The reform responds in particular to the competence needs arising from changes in working life, and therefore education and employment services will be developed as a whole. To promote opportunities for working-aged people to develop their competence as well as the availability of skilled labour are the main aims of the reform.
The implementation of the policies continues beyond the government term, and it is important that the work started is completed as planned in the coming years.
Service Centre for Continuous Learning and Employment
The reform led to the establishment of a Service Centre for Continuous Learning and Employment SCELE. It helps to improve the skills of working-age people and promote the availability of skilled labour. To respond to skills needs that either arise suddenly or involve supplementing other education and training provision, the Service Centre finances targeted training based on foresight information. The training programmes are designed to alleviate skills shortages in the healthcare and social welfare sector, in early childhood education and care, and in the hospitality, tourism, culture and events industries that have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the needs of the green transition and digitalisation, which require new expertise, the Service Centre also finances training related to the hydrogen economy and the battery industry, which would not otherwise be available.
The Service Centre develops and experiments with new ways of reaching employed people who normally participate in training and education less than others. These outreach pilots, which are carried out in 1,200 companies, will also provide research data on the impacts of the measures. In addition, the Service Centre analyses foresight information on skills and labour force needs, develops information, advice and guidance services, and boosts the effectiveness of regional and other collaboration networks.