The Government proposes temporary changes to labour market training – Employment and Economic Development Offices could also offer studies leading to a university degree
On 29 October, the Government has submitted a proposal to Parliament, according to which the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment as well as the Employment and Economic Development Offices could acquire and offer studies leading to a university degree as labour market training when certain preconditions are met between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2022. The aim of the proposal is to promote employment and secure the availability of competent workforce especially in growing sectors and, simultaneously, take the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the labour market into account.
It is proposed that the Act on public employment and business service (916/2012) be amended temporarily so that the following could be acquired as labour market training, in addition to the current training:
- studies leading to a university degree in order to complete interrupted university studies,
- studies leading to a university degree for a person who already has a post-secondary level degree or a similar level degree completed abroad in the same field,
- studies leading to a new university degree for a private customer who has already completed a university degree if the person can be accepted, based on their previous degree, to an education targeted at a limited group of people for which the eligibility of the applicants is defined separately by the university and if the studies are estimated to be completed within 24 months.
To be admitted as a student would require, similar to all labour market training, that the person is suitable for the training and for the profession or task pursued and that the Employment and Economic Development Office has stated that the person needs training. When acquiring studies leading to a university degree as labour market training, the Employment and Economic Development Office would select the students and the university or university of applied sciences would decide on the admittance of the student.
The amended act is to take effect on 1 January 2021 and be valid until the end of June 2022. The act would be applied to studies referred to in the proposal which start, at the latest, on 30 June 2022 and end, at the latest, on 30 June 2024.
The labour market training leading to a university degree is a response to the changes and skill shortage in the labour market brought about by the coronavirus pandemic
According to the valid Act on public employment and business service, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment as well as the Employment and Economic Development Offices can acquire vocationally oriented training, but not university-level studies which lead to a degree.
In certain sectors, there has been a shortage of university of applied sciences and university professionals already before, and the coronavirus pandemic has partly changed the dynamics of the labour markets and the need for new type of skills has been highlighted. For example, it is estimated that the demand is higher for ICT, environmental technology, biotechnology, health care and social services professionals during the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic crisis as well as after the situation improves. In order to be prepared for this situation, the Government proposed temporary changes to the provisions concerning the labour market training.
The labour market training would be a quick and flexible tool for the acute need of implementing a maximum 24-month studies leading to a degree and would supplement the offering of the education system. It is also the benefit of the labour market training that the acquired training programmes are planned especially stemming from the needs of the labour market of each area.
Similar opportunities were previously available until the end of 2017. For example, the foremen shortage in the construction sector in 2017 was successfully addressed with two training programmes in which the construction sector companies, the Confederation of Finnish Construction Industries RT, the Employment and the Economy Administration and universities arranging the training engaged in extensive and good cooperation.
“All measures that have proven effective to improve the skills of job seekers and address the competence needs of the labour markets must be utilised in order to minimise the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.
Competence development is part of the Government Programme
One of the objectives of the programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government is to create security amidst the working life revolution by means of competence. The possibilities of changes must be supported by all means by promoting competence, renewal, deployment of new technologies and spread of new ideas. One of the measures to achieve this goal stated in the Government Programme is the increase of labour market training jointly arranged with companies.
The proposed amendment would be temporary, since the reform of continuous learning under parliamentary preparation will cover the target groups and needs presented in this draft proposal. The reform of continuous learning includes also the development possibilities of the competences of those employed, unemployed and not part of the workforce. The reform policies will be completed at the end of 2020 and their implementation will start in 2021.
Special Adviser to Minister of Employment Piia Rekilä, tel. +358 29 506 4115
Special Advisor Johanna Laukkanen, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7017
Senior Officer Meri Pensamo, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7257