Finland has one of the best resourced school career guidance systems worldwide where career learning is an integral and compulsory part of the school curriculum and the student-career practitioner ratio is 350:1. It is not surprising then that institutes of further (including TVET) and higher education in Finland have lower program drop-out rates than institutes in countries of similar level of economic development, producing significant savings for individuals, families, and taxpayers. Likewise, career guidance is a strong feature of the public employment services, and there are also local community based one-stop shops to support job seekers on life, learning, and work issues.
Improving the quality of career guidance provision has been a constant theme of developments over the past 15 years in Finland. The most recent strategy, published in December 2020, addresses issues of improving access to services, especially for parts of the adult population that have been less well served to date; a well-functioning digital service to support continuous learning and up-skilling of the adult population; the establishment of mechanisms at national and local levels to improve both administrative and multi-disciplinary cooperation between providers; the up-skilling of career practitioners for the digital age; and developing the evidence base for assessing the impact of career guidance provision. Dr Raimo Vuorinen, Project Manager at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research and current Chairperson of ICCDPP, has had a significant role in the development of the national strategy and in its implementation to date.
It is both encouraging and refreshing to see how one country, Finland, with already well developed policies and systems for career guidance, strives for continuous improvement in career guidance provision for its population. As an example of national strategy, this document is well worth viewing.