Bold reforms in the Finnish vocational training in the paper, wood and chemical sectors

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The National Board of Education, the forest industry and the chemical industry are working together to develop training in the sectors. The target is to combine basic certificates in the paper, wood and chemical sectors into a basic certificate in process industry. A large part of studies would be the same for all students.

Training emphasizes basic skills in physics and chemistry as well as new technology and equipment, knowledge of customers and processes, as well as electrical, automation and engineering expertise. Broad skills benefit both students and employers. Solid training provides possibilities for different career options and increases job satisfaction.

"We are glad that the National Board of Education wants to reform certificates to meet the present and future requirements of the working world better," says Mika Tynkkynen, Vice President, Corporate Training Services at the Metsäliitto Group, who was one of the people behind the initiative. "The effects of changes in the training system only become visible in stages and slowly, so training should be reformed boldly. The goal is to use both public training resources and companies’ resources effectively."

Increasing automation, the constant improving of production efficiency and a broader range of work tasks at mills present new challenges for vocational training.

"Both broad knowledge and special expertise are important," Mr Tynkkynen emphasizes. "Future production tasks will require the comprehensive understanding of operations and processes, the ability to work in a group and strong supervisor and subordinate skills."

The reform of certificates was discussed at a seminar that was arranged by the National Board of Education on 12 June 2007. A working group set up by the National Board of Education to study the need to develop training in the paper, wood and chemical sectors also recommended that basic certificates be reformed.

For more information, please contact

Päivi Luoma, Director, Education and Competence, Finnish Forest Industries Federation, tel. +358 9 132 6626, e-mail

Riitta Juvonen, Assistant Director, Education and Research, Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, tel. +358 9 1728 4318,