Education policy lobbying
Securing and developing high-quality engineering education is a key focus for the union. The Finnish higher education system is based on the dual model. It produces skills for the labor market, both for scientific research and for practical knowledge. The dual model is important as it enables a wide range of skills to be used in working life.
If the issue can be approached at the same time from different perspectives, more solutions will likely be found. The role of polytechnic schools is to train experts with practical skills.
Technology saves the world!
All it takes is high-level skills that are consistently updated. Influencing education policy is one of the key ways the Union of Professional Engineers promotes the interests of its members. Finnish engineering education is internationally acclaimed, and we want to keep it that way.
Both quality and quantity are important in engineering education. Training must be appropriate and timely. The goal of education is for the student to join working life, and quality teaching aims to give the student a good career. The connections made to working life while studying, and the practical experience gained from internships, provide a solid basis for a successful future. If the number of students receiving engineering education is too high, not all graduates will have jobs, at least not in engineering. This does not serve any party – not the individual, not businesses, and not society.
Over education reduces the value, pay, and career opportunities of engineers.
In 2020, the Union of Professional Engineers conducted a study on the completing of engineering training and the costs caused by the interruption of studies (in Finnish):
Engineers are the engines of growth in Finland
In the future, engineering education will remain attractive. Students are likely to pass and graduates are highly employed in technical fields. Polytechnic schools have proven themselves and their operations are secured with sufficient funding. Industry cooperates strongly with local polytechnic schools.
“Finland’s research, development, and innovation funding represent at least 4 percent of GDP.”
The skills of working engineers are also kept up to date. Every engineer receives additional training during his or her career. Society and companies bear their responsibility for maintaining competences. Upskilling ensures that engineering qualifications meet the needs of working life.
To promote the interest in education policy-making in 2021, the Union of Professional Engineers aims to:
Find opportunities for maintaining skills
- Updating an employee’s skills must become part of everyday working life
- Upskilling will be increased and the distribution of funding will be developed
- Set up ‘knowledge accounts’ for all employment aged individuals to enable continuous learning. These accounts are co-financed by individuals, businesses, and the state
- The number of short degrees and diploma courses will be increased
Diversify skills for the needs of working life
- Maintain the special features of polytechnic schools and universities in the higher education system
- Promote the allocation of additional resources for the basic funding of polytechnic schools to increase the number of degrees
- Increase the rate of those graduating within the target time to 75 percent by, for example, adding resources for student counseling
Highlight math and science skills
- Especially in the field of technology, math, and science skills are needed > Mathematics should be made mandatory in the matriculation exam
- Take into account math and science skills for those applying to study teaching