I was over the moon when I was picked to go to Finland, the first person from Leeds Apprentice Xchange to go away. It was an amazing experience I did not want to miss. I had heard and looked into their education and just from reading about it I was amazed , so I did not let the opportunity go without a fight! 🙂
We got to visit Helsinki and go sightseeing, it’s such a beautiful place. I met someone from the ministry of education in Finland and heard his views on their progress and plans for the future. I was shocked with how close the connection between the ministry of education and head of the vocational students union was.
We got to see Omnia vocational school and how it is run where we also had a chance to speak to some apprentices. This is a bit of their website in English with the director talking about vocational education in Finland: https://www.omnia.fi/web/omnia/international-omnia
The we got taken to the middle of nowhere, were we continued are stay. Here we was introduced to all the members of the student union for Helsinki. The best way to end our time was to experience how they run they student council meetings, were they vote for who will run what roles for following year. The whole journey was an incredible experience to see how they run their education. It gives us lots of insights and ideas for us to bring back to the National Society of Apprentice, and how we can run things.
I got to meet all the members of student council of Helsinki, the ministry of education, and the head of the Omnia school and lots of apprentices who told me all about their experience and their plans for coming years. I felt like the Queen, that many people came to visit and introduce themselves to us.
I learnt a lot from my journey to Finland, from how amazingly they run their education, how apprenticeships run in their country, how much support they get from teachers and course leaders. Their education is free and they get funded to move and live near city where courses are held, this shocked and took my breath away! This rule did not matter if you weren’t born in Finland but moved over there. It would be the same for them too no matter where you come for. I was overwhelmed with how much support they got from the school. If the sector and job you were training for had no jobs going , they would push and support you to start your own business . To them they want to increase jobs and business in Finland so they invest in young people. This is what they are doing right, and it is truly the right way to go!
For me the things I really likes about the way Finland do education was the support you get from start to beginning, the fact it is all free, the connection between government and unions. Just the structure and how their education system runs I liked as it was wonderful the effort and money they put into it. It was amazing to see how much they get out of it is beautiful to see good young people getting the right education and support they need.
Another thing i was unbelievable shocked by was the shops the schools opened. For example they had a salon open to the public for students doing beauty and hairdressing, for the chefs and bakery’s they had a shop for them. All the shops the public used, and they were very busy! This helps them with experience but money as well to get better things and invest!
Finally, I would like to say it was an experience I fully enjoyed with all my heart! I would happily move to Finland with the people to learn, for me it was the best education I have heard and seen with my eyes! We could learn a lot from them.? Personally I would say if you could go, take the chance and go, it is worth it!
NSoA ILT member 2014 Siobhan Knott