Vocational upper secondary qualification
Vocational studies are aimed at achieving work qualifications and a job, which means that studies are conducted in close cooperation with working life throughout. Studying is multiform and practical, and students usually learn by doing and trying. The studies comprise at least six months (30 credits) of learning on the job. After completing the vocational upper secondary qualification, the student has plenty of vocational skills that can be used to gain employment in many fields, not just one occupation.
The vocational upper secondary qualification may be completed by studying in a vocational institute, in apprenticeship training or as a combination of the two. The matriculation examination may also be completed alongside the vocational upper secondary qualification, in which case the student is completing a double degree. Teaching, meals and student healthcare are free of charge for students studying for the initial qualification, but students must pay for text books and other study materials themselves.
Each student receives a personal competence development plan (HOKS). The development plan takes into account the skills the student may have already acquired earlier and contains plans for which skills the student needs and how to acquire them in their various learning environments. Students who already have the required vocational skills may prove their skills by completing genuine work assignments.
The scope of the vocational upper secondary qualification is 180 credits. Depending on the student’s existing skills, completing the vocational upper secondary qualification will take approximately 1–3 years.
The City of Helsinki organises vocational education through Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute. It offers nearly 30 different qualifications and provides vocational education for numerous different occupations.
In addition to Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute, there are 12 vocational colleges operated privately or by foundations in Helsinki. They offer initial vocational qualifications. Vocational studies enable further studies at institutes of higher education and universities.