Forest sector education report

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The core message in the report is clear: the need for education in the wood products industry is double the current amount of certificates. Education for forest machine operators and forest workers should be increased strongly, while the number of students in programmes leading to master’s degrees should be reduced in forestry. In the paper field education appears to be most in balance with future labour requirements.

Education to be balanced with the labor demand

The forest cluster provides employment directly or indirectly for nearly 200,000 Finns. This means that about one in every ten economically active Finns earns a living from the forest or wood.

Education in the forest, wood and paper field is quite limited, however, accounting for only about 3% of the total number of certificates. Problems are aggravated by many small units spread around the country. The report stresses flexibility in orienting education to fields where the demand for labour is growing.

A strong need for qualified workers in the wood products industry

The report calls for education in the wood products field to be properly dimensioned and strengthened so that the demand for labour and education will be better matched in the 2010s, when the post-war baby boomers will retire.

The vision in the wood products field is to double the value of production by 2020. In order to do this the number of persons completing basic certificates as well as master’s degrees and doctorates must more than double compared with the present.

Marketing and business skills to be included in education

The content of education needs to be developed on areas of skills in which there are now shortages. Managing basic processes is core expertise for wood engineers, but it is increasingly important to strengthen marketing and business skills, supervisor skills, language skills and skills in interacting with people in different cultures.

Knowledge concerning the structure and effects of the value chain is also important for people working in the forest cluster. Needs, suggestions and signals that come from customers should be understood. This requires knowledge concerning not only the multiple use of forests, but ability to look at wood from a new perspective and to participate in broad decision-making.

Final report of a working group appointed by the Finnish Ministry of Education: The best forest, wood and paper expertise in the world. Developing education in the forest sector in Finland can be loaded at

 Report was submitted to Minister of Education Sari Sarkomaa on 9 January 2008.

Basic certificate from 60 schools

Students can complete a basic certificate in the wood products field or a further qualification at about 40 vocational schools and about 20 crafts and design schools.

 Become an engineer in wood technology

 Students can complete an engineering degree in wood technology at the following units:

 Universities of applied sciences -> Bachelor of Engineering

  • Lahti University of Applied Sciences >
  • Central Ostrobothnia University of Applied Sciences >
  • Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences >
  • North Karelia University of Applied Sciences > (specialization option in degree programme in civil engineering)
  • Savonia University of Applied Sciences >
  • Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences > (specialization option in degree programme in mechanical engineering)

 Technical universities -> Master of Engineering

  • Helsinki University of Technology >
  • Lappeenranta University of Technology >

Students can also complete a degree in forest products marketing or in forestry with marketing as a specialization option at the following:

 Universities of applied sciences -> Forestry Engineer

  • Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences >
  • North Karelia University of Applied Sciences >
  • Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences >

 Text: Ritva Varis,