I have travelled all around the globe and the one thing people say when they hear I am Finnish, is that what great quality education we have. The high quality of our education system has enabled Finland to grow into a welfare state, that also measures as the happiest country in the world on various scales. We can and should be extremely proud of this.
We are unfortunately heading towards a crisis because of our low birth rates. It is predicted that an estimated 700,000 more people will die than be born in Finland by 2060 (Yle 30.9). This crisis is reflecting to our industries and especially the health care sector as well as the heavy industries. Business Tampere and its partners have started “Konepajakoulu 2.0” to start making the industry more attractive to young talents. It is an example of a great initiative started together by the industries and the public sector.
TAKK started its first education export group that aims to get a complete degree when our first group of 26 Kenyan Practical Nurse students started their studies this fall. I believe in a model where our experts and the local industries train future workforce for the needs of Finland together. This model is more sustainable than simply hiring foreign staff. Having a previous education in a different country does not necessarily give the needed tools to be able to work in Finland. Besides tuition fees, this model brings income for our rental companies, shops and all other partners that provide services for students.
We still have a lot to do but are definitely heading towards the right direction. Now more than ever we need to work closely together with other educational institutions such as TAMK and Tredu. The city of Tampere is also a vital partner since many big projects need cooperation and agreements between cities and regions. The competition for global students and talents is rising and only together we can be more attractive than the capital area. We FINNs must get rid of our old fashioned “competitor” mindset and remember that we are all in this together. We as bold pioneers must show the way for others.
The global competition for international talents is also on the rise. Most other Nordic and European countries are struggling with the same issues regarding workforce and birth rates. Finland is inevitably becoming more and more international. As an example, during my last two visits to Helsinki, I was served in English instead of Finnish in all restaurants I visited.
Director of International Partnerships