Reform of continuous learning
A continuous learning reform will focus on the skills of working age people. The reform will respond to the educational needs arising from changes in the world of work and seek solutions to combine work and study. The continuous learning policy will be published by the end of 2020. Implementation of the comprehensive reform will continue beyond this government term.
The changing demands of work will significantly increase the need for upskilling and continuous learning. In Finland, the term continuous learning has been introduced to emphasise the urgency of upskilling and reskilling, not just now and then during the lifetime (lifelong learning).
The labour market demand in Finland and many other EU countries is the biggest for high-skilled workers and people in high skill jobs report most about the continuing need to learn. Demographic changes also cause new challenges. Our workforce is ageing, and it is more and more important that everyone´s skills are up-to date to stay employable. Immigration brings here very different groups of people, some whose high-level skills should be taken into use as quickly as possible, some who lack proper basic education and even literacy.
In order to raise the employment rate, Finland needs a supply of skilled labour. According to the Government Programme, continuous learning responds to the need to develop skills at different stages of people’s lives and careers.
The continuous learning policy cover areas such as the provision and financing of education, identification of prior learning and students’ income.
The measures envisaged by the Government include increasing opportunities for retraining, continuing professional development and professional specialisation education throughout working life, developing apprenticeship training as a channel for reskilling and adult education, and providing flexible opportunities to study in higher education institutions. Study leave and financial aid for adult students will be developed, and the opportunities for people to study while looking for work will be improved.
This challenge requires a comprehensive and systemic approach for development of education and learning, which takes in to account many policy sectors. Education systems also have to cooperate even more tightly with working life. One of the key questions is, how non-formal and informal learning can be more efficiently exploited in competence development, and the learning outcomes made visible.
The education system and its financing and guidance will be developed to better support learning in the workplace. In addition, common principles will be set out for recognising prior learning acquired outside formal education. Services will be created to facilitate lifelong guidance, and such services will also focus on supporting groups that are currently underrepresented in adult education.