Immigrants’ Competences Need to Be Recognised Even Better


SIMHE report was handed over to Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen by Birgitta Vuorinen , Counsellor of Education, Head of Team at Ministry of Education and Culture.

SIMHE-Metropolia customers shared their stories about how their competences have been recognised.

Project director Heidi Stenberg looked back at the events during the SIMHE pilot year.

The event was concluded by a short video on the eventful SIMHE pilot year.

Members of the SIMHE project participated in the event, from left Anna Grönlund, Head of Internationalization, University of Jyväskylä; Marianne Autero, project coordinator, SIMHE at Metropolia, Marita Häkkinen, coordinator, SIMHE at University of Jyväskylä; Riitta Konkola, President, CEO, Metropolia; Kaisu Piiroinen, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education and Culture; Birgitta Vuorinen, Counsellor of Education, Head of Team; Ministry of Education and Culture; Pekka Syrjänen, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education and Culture; Heidi Stenberg, project director, SIMHE at Metropolia.

Highly educated immigrants possess prior competences and education, but these are not currently acknowledged and recognised sufficiently. Thus, methods and processes for recognition of prior learning should be improved and increased. Steering group for Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland (SIMHE) project handed over its report to Minister of Education and Culture, Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, on 25 September 2017 at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences which is one of the pilot institutions in SIMHE concept.

Labour market and education system are not able to recognise and acknowledge immigrants’ prior competences and skills, and these practices should be developed further according to the SIMHE steering group. Otherwise, educated immigrants end up doing work that is not equivalent to their current level of education, or they complete studies that overlap with their previous studies. This creates frustration and dilutes integration.

“There is a need to make use of everyone’s skills and competences in Finland. We cannot afford to waste and not to recognise such competences. SIMHE concept offers solutions for enabling immigrants to proceed for meaningful educational paths and to improve ways of recognising prior learning and competences”, says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen.

Lack of Finnish language skills is one of the main hindrances for studies and employment. Increasing the offerings on suitable Finnish language courses and possibilities in English-conducted education would ease the access for higher education according to the SIMHE steering group. Additionally, preparatory courses, work-based projects or on-line courses could support immigrants’ entry to Finnish labour market and official education system.

SIMHE Institutions Provide New Beginnings for Immigrants

Services for highly educated immigrants within the SIMHE concept were piloted at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and University of Jyväskylä in 2016. Both institutions offered guidance and counselling services and models for recognition of competences were tested and implemented in the fields of technology and business at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. These services will be developed further within a larger SIMHE network to spread the good practices to other institutions for higher education. In 2017, University of Helsinki, University of Turku, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Oulu University of Applied Sciences also joined the SIMHE network as SIMHE institutions.

SIMHE concept has got a strong foothold at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. “When the amount of asylum seekers rocketed in Finland in 2015, Metropolia wanted to create a concrete tool to support integration. Our original idea was to establish a centre for recognising competences, but it was then modified to SIMHE concept in which we embrace networking and target-oriented ways to fasten immigrants’ and asylum seekers’ entry to meaningful educational and career paths. The increasing number of customers and received feedback from them are a solid proof that our SIMHE services have met the needs of immigrants and the Finnish society,” concludes Riitta Konkola, President, CEO of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

The Ministry of Education and Culture Report is published only in Finnish: Maahanmuuton vastuukorkeakoulutoiminta - raportti (Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja 2017:38 )

Further information

Ministry of Education and Culture
Pekka Syrjänen
Tel. +358 (0) 295 3 30416

Information on SIMHE services at Metropolia

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Heidi Stenberg, project director
heidi.stenberg @ metropolia . fi
Tel +358 (0) 40 535 3388

3UAS-Professional Summer School has started and first it's time for Cambridge Venture Camp!


The Cambridge Venture Camp got 78 applicants, and 17 students were chosen to participate the camp. The camp is organized by 3UAS – Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia Universities of Applied Sciences. The program for the camp is organized by Laurea Entrepreneurship Society, LaureaES.Suvi Lehton...

Read More

Changing the world through encounters – fundraising campaign launched


Metropolia has launched its fundraising campaign. We are inviting our partners to join us in encounters that speed up renewal in society, changing the world around us. Our campaign theme is “Meaningful encounters that change the world”. These meaningful encounters will be created through...

Read More

A fresh future is taking shape


“A fresh future is taking shape, with urban areas around the world becoming not just the dominant form of habitat for humankind, but also the engine-rooms of human development as a whole” (UN Habitat 2012)
As more than 50% of us live in urban areas—a number that will increase up t...

Read More

The last EMECC students celebrated their graduation in Oviedo, Spain


One of Metropolia’s joint degrees, the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Programme in Emergency and Critical Care Nursing (EMECC) has come to an end. The students and faculty members of the consortium celebrated the graduation of the last students at the University of Oviedo on February 9th.
In a...

Read More


Circular Economy for Sustainable Growth

Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia Universities of Applied Sciences (3UAS) in cooperation with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra are launching new study path which will focus on Circular Economy. Sitra has been selected as the winner in the Circular Awards to be a pioneer at the transition to a circular ...

Read More


The joint application for the degree programmes in English ended - thank you to all our applicants

This spring’s first joint application period for Bachelor's and Master’s Degree studies conducted in English ended on Wednesday 24.1. at 15.00 o’clock. According to provisional results, Metropolia again attracted a large number of applicants. In total, over 3500 applications were submit...

Read More


Student and Teacher teamed up for transport benchmarking survey

Transport markets are opening up for free competition in Finland. New transport policy aims at creating fair competition in passenger and freight transport. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is being introduced. Hence, there is need to gain more information about the reporting mechanisms and indicators used i...

Read More

Displaying results ###SPAN_BEGIN###%s to %s out of ###SPAN_BEGIN###%s