Guidance Services and Recognition of Prior Learning and Competence for Immigrants

Guidance and Counselling Services

Guidance and counselling services offers you different options through which you may plan what kind of study opportunities there are for you to enhance and top-up your competence. Or, you may aim at starting a new study path or find ways to find employment in Finland.

What Is Guidance and Counselling?

Guidance and counselling aim at helping you to find the most suitable study and/or career paths for you. We will not give you any ready-made solutions, but the idea is to help you to acknowledge your own skills and competences. It also helps you to realise what are your strengths and weaknesses and in what areas you may need improvement or more studies to be ready to enter further studies or working-life.

You have various ways to receive guidance and counselling:

Personal Guidance Discussion

You may book a time for a personal guidance discussion in which we go through your previous studies and what kind of hopes and ideas you have for your future education and career. Guidance discussion is aimed at people with an immigrant background and who are eligible to apply for higher education, who have previous studies in higher education or have already completed a degree in higher education.

Book a time for personal guidance discussion by sending e-mail to simhe-info metropolia fi

Consider the following topics before coming to the discussion:

  • What have you studied before and what are your skills and competences?
  • Are you interested in supplementing your previous studies for example by taking courses via open university?
  • Do you plan to start studies in higher education for the first time, or do you wish to enter in a totally new field of study?
  • What are your career plans?
  • How is your life in general in relation to continuing or starting studies?

Guidance Generalia Lectures

In Guidance Generalia, you will

  • get familiar with the Finnish education system and in Finnish higher education system in particular
  • obtain information on what and where you can study in Finland as an asylum seeker and as an immigrant
  • obtain information on how to apply for higher education
  • have ideas what you need to take into account when planning studies
  • get extra knowledge on the selected and variable topic that is specific for each lecture. The topic will be informed two weeks prior to each Guidance Generalia session.

Guidance Generalia lectures will be offered in Finnish and English. Other language options will be decided according to the enrolment information.


Mon 15 January 2018
From 12-14
Finnish education system
Finnish higher education system
Applying for English-conducted Bachelor's programmes in 2018
Enrolment has ended Finnish
Mon 12 February 2018
Language study opportunities at Metropolia
- TOEFL on-line course and test
- OLS for Refugees

Enrolment has ended

Mon 12 March 2018
Finnish education system
Finnish higher education system
Applying for Finnish-conducted university/UAS programmes in 2018
Enroll by 8 March Finnish
Mon 16 April 2018
From 13-15

Recognition of Competences
- how can I explain my competences
- how competences can be recognised

Enrolment begins 19 March 2018 Finnish

Mon 21 May 2018
From 13-15

 Studying in higher education in Finland
- study skills
- planning your studies
Enrolment begins 23 April 2018 Finnish

Mon 11 June 2018
From 13-15

Preparatory course for Immigrants at Metropolia
- content of studies
- application procedure
Enrolment begins 21 May 2018 Finnish


Guidance Generalia lectures are organised at Metropolia Bulevardi campus:
Bulevardi 31, 00180 Helsinki

Recognition of Prior Learning and Competence

What is Recognition of Competences and Prior Learning?

Recognition of prior learning and competence aims at mapping what kind of skills and competence you have acquired through your previous studies in higher education and also through possible study-related work experience.

The main goal is to help you to integrate into Finnish society faster through recognising such skills and competence and thus also enhance your possibilities to enter to the labour market.

Competence is all that you have learned during your life. You may have gained it by working or studying, in school, or through hobbies. Competence doesn’t show merely in certificates from school, studies or work. Recognition of competence and prior learning may help you in getting back to studies or to start your own professional career. A variety of different methods,”tools”, are used recognising your competence. Your competence profile starts to build up through this recognition.

Learn more about different tools and methods

Recognition of Competences for Highly Educated Immigrants in the Fields of Technology and Business

We have organised the recognition of competences four times: in spring 2016 in the field of technology and in autumn 2016, spring 2017 and autumn 2017 in the fields of technology and business administration.


Who can participate?

You can take part in Mapping of Competences, if you have

  • Residence permit in Finland
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the field of technology (engineering) or business
  • Degree Certificate (translated into Finnish, English or Swedish)
  • Sufficient language skills in English or in Finnish

What is included in the recognition of competences?

Recognition of Competence and Prior Learning consists of Mapping Competences

You will be invited to an In-Depth Professional Discussion in which you have a conversation with a Metropolia professional from the field. Metropolia expert in your field will plan what kind of complementary studies could support your employment. These can be professional courses or project work.

Mapping of Competences

Mapping of Competences comprises of two phases:\r\n

  • Orientation (self-evaluation, degree comparison)
  • In-Depth Professional Discussion with an expert in your field of study

\r\nAfter the Mapping of Competences, you will receive a document in which we describe

  • what kind of competences we were able to identify based on your previous studies
  • what kind of additional skills and competences you have
  • what kind of added studies we can recommend to you

How can you benefit from taking part in Mapping of Competences?

Mapping of Competences will give you a better understanding on your skills and information on what kind of studies can support your job-search. The document also helps the employers to acknowledge your competences better, when you apply for a job.

All SIMHE-Metropolia services are free of charge to our customers.

Recognition of Competences

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The goal of recognition of prior learning is to promote the progress of studies and to enable students to take an individual study path. RPL is based on a working life and competence-oriented curriculum. Students have the opportunity to apply for the recognition of prior learning if they possess the kind of competence that meets the aims of their curriculum.

Recognition and International Comparability of Qualifications

Recognition of qualifications refers to a decision on the eligibility that foreign qualifications provide when applying for a job or study place. In Finland, recognition decisions are made by different bodies for different purposes. The check and the recognition are done by The Finnish National Board of Education.

Learn more about the recognition of qualifications

If you have completed a degree in social and health care, the recognition of qualifications is made by Valvira (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health)

Learn more about Valvira practices

Main Principles in Recognition and Evaluation of Competences

Equality means that everyone has the same opportunities to recognition and evaluation of their competence.

Guidance is an important part of recognition and evaluation of competence. Guidance means, that you will have guidance (for example a oral/written communication) on how you are going to proceed with your study plans and career possibilities in the future.

Helping with problems and finding solutions is also an important part in recognising and evaluating competence. You may have different problems or difficulties that hinder your performance. We try to find an active solution on how you can overcome such obstacles.

Tools for Recognising Competences

Competence can be recognised in various ways. Usually, at least few different methods are being used at the same time. Means and methods depend on your educational and employment background. Methods are different in for example in engineering and social services.

Below are some examples of the tools that are used in recognising and evaluating competences. There are are also many other tools that can be used for such purposes.

Self-evaluation Your own view of your competence. Self-evaluation can be for instance a form, which you fill in so that you can evaluate the level of your own skills on a scale from 1 to 5. Self-evaluation can also be a text about your own competence, written by you. Self-evaluation is often used as a basis for other methods of evaluation. Self-evaluation is like a mirror which shows your own view on your competence and how you operate in “real-life” situations 
Professional interview/dialogue A conversation between colleagues that seeks to demonstrate how well two people that share the same profession understand each other professionally. This method is often used as a part of an interview. The conversation also shows how fluently the professional terminology is used.


Authentic or simulated working You work in an authentic workplace in your own professional field. 
Professional portfolio A collection of work you have done and your own evaluation on how you have succeeded. The portfolio is compact and represents your competence through demonstrations of skill/work samples. The samples can be both from your “real” work and from your study-related work. The portfolio always includes your curriculum vitae (CV). The portfolio is a good method for recognizing competence, if you have a considerable amount of work samples.


Written assignment/tasks Are normally directly linked to your own own work tasks. A written task could be for example: tell how the copyrights of the production were handled or make a report of a certain project. Different exam-like tasks are possible too. Those could be for example questions related to safety at work. When recognizing the competence of immigrants, an oral exam could be a better option than a written one.


Interaction and team work Good methods for recognizing skills in problem-solving for example by giving participants a task that they need to solve. A part of the same task could be making a presentation about how the solution was reached.


Practical work Can be doing something, reading, searching for information, or planning a work task. It can be done alone or in a group. The work can be done under supervision, or independently. Evaluation can also be done in peer groups.
Use of pictures Suits well in situations, where language skills are not needed and professional background is recognized through pictures. In this way, it is possible to proceed to more and more precise pictures about profession. The method can also be used in clarifying the educational background.
Internet-based work and assessment A quick way to recognize competence for example in mapping your digital skills.
Peer evaluation Can be a part of any method of evaluation. In a peer evaluation, peers evaluate each others'' input and working methods when doing the same task.
Mind map A mind map is a graphic presentation about a certain subject. A mind map is not a detailed description of everything associated with the subject, but consists of keywords. Based on the keywords, it is possible to evaluate the skills to perceive the subject as a whole. When evaluating a mind map, attention is paid to on how extensively the subject is presented. Mind maps can be combined with other methods of evaluation. 

Study Opportunities is maintained by the Finnish Education Board. Finnish educational institutions introduce their offerings and services in the portal. provides easy-to-use, trustworthy and secure services for lifelong learning and planning and implementing individual study paths. contains information on degrees, professions and studying in different educational institutions.

You may find different study paths and apply for studies in the system.

Read more about the

Finnish courses has a good search engine for finding Finnish courses in Helsinki region, but also in Turku and Tampere regions.

Find a Finnish course

Suomi taskussa
Learn Finnish through videos!/kielet

Preparatory Courses for Immigrants

Metropolia offers preparatory courses for immigrants to introduce what it is like to study in university of applied sciences in Finland in different fields of study. Preparatory courses are conducted in Finnish (skills level B1.1).

Learn more about the content and course offerings

Teacher education

Subject Teacher Education Programme STEP conducted in English at University of Helsinki. Read more

Metropolia Open University of Applied Sciences

Open University of Applied Sciences (Open UAS) gives you an opportunity to study courses from various degree programmes (Bachelor's or Master's) regardless of your former education, work experience and age.

Learn more about the course offerings

Open UAS and university studies in the Helsinki Region

Laurea UAS

Haaga-Helia UAS

Arcada UAS
Studies are offered in Swedish and in English

University of Helsinki

Aalto University
E-mail: avoin aalto fi

Helsinki Summer University

Outside Helsinki region

Lahti UAS
avoinamk lamk fi

TAMK UAS (Tampere)
avoinamk tamk fi

University of Tampere
avoin uta fi

Turku UAS
avoinamk turkuamk fi

University of Turku

Note that each school has its own enrolment and fee policy.

Useful Links

Helsinki International House

International House Helsinki provides a wide range of information and public authority services to meet the needs of international newcomers in the Helsinki metropolitan area 

How to make a Curriculum Vitae

The Europass CV, or Curriculum Vitae, presents key information about you in a concise form.

Make a CV

Information for working in Finland

Virka-info is the City of Helsinki's information service that provides information and advice to both residents and visitors.

Infopankki offers information on living in Finland and about different possibilities there are in Finland. Services can be used in 12 different languages and it is maintained by City of Helsinki. 

How to find work in Finland

Te Services

Just Landed




Support for starting up a company in Finland

To help you to become an entrepreneur in Helsinki region - NewCo Helsinki

SIMHE-Metropolia customer shares his experiences

Recruiting and Matching Morning: Business, Internationalization and Export 6.3.2018

Join us for Recruiting and Matching Morning to meet employers that are planning of going international and exploring new markets. A kick start to your new career with them might be just behind the corner! Come and meet the employers

Time: Tuesday 6 March 2018 from 8:45-12:00
Place: Innovation House Finland, Tekniikantie 2, Espoo

Event is free of charge and will be mainly in English.

Read more about the event and register by 28 February



Integration Program Business Lead 2018

An education and internship opportunity in Finnish business for educated refugees and immigrants

  • Is your dream to work in Finland?
  • Do you speak fluent English?
  • Did you study at a university?

Business Lead is an integration program for educated refugees and immigrants based in the Uusimaa region in Finland. The aim of the program is to introduce and help educated refugees and immigrants into Finnish working life and society.

The program will start 14-15 May 2018 and run until November 2018. You need to apply by 2 April 2018.

Organised by Hanken & SSE Executive Education

Read more

Moniheli (Network of Multicultural Associations)

Moniheli ry  Moniheli was founded in 2010 as a cooperation network for multicultural organisations. As of 2016, the network counts over 75 members. Moniheli's goal is to promote the development of a multicultural and diverse Finnish society as well as to support the activities of its member associations in various ways.

Read more about their services such as CV clinic

Peer mentoring programme

NEW! Group coaching

Various variables - our blog on SIMHE-Metropolia

We like to share our experiences with you on our journey in supporting immigrants in higher education in our blog Various variables

Recognition of Competences

You have acquired a variety of skills and competences throughout your life via studies, working and even hobbies. It is important to recognise your skills and competences when you are planning studies or entering into labour market.

Learn more about different methods and tools used in recognising competencies

Contact details

Send e-mail to:
simhe-info metropolia fi

Visiting address
Bulevardi 31
00180 Helsinki