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Metropolia promotes international professionals’ entry to local job market in collaboration with employment pilots

1.3.2021 - 12:00

On 1 March 2021 Metropolia launches a new service concept to facilitate international professionals’ access to the local job market. In this initiative Metropolia collaborates with the local government pilots on employment of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa-Kerava. The goal is to develop and pilot tailored services for foreign-language speakers who have a higher education degree, ultimately aiming to help them find employment in Finland. 

The local government pilots on employment aim to increase employment among unemployed jobseekers and to direct them to training and education more effectively. Additionally, the pilots are expected to create new solutions to ensure availability of skilled labour. The pilots are targeted at unemployed jobseekers who are foreign-language speakers or under the age of 30. Also unemployed jobseekers not entitled to earnings-related unemployment allowance will transfer to the pilot projects. 

Metropolia SIMHE services (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland), tailored to immigrants with a higher education background, will be integrated in the service network of the employment pilots of Greater Helsinki region in a two-year project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The target is to guide 1,400 international professionals annually to versatile and specialised employment-focused services in Metropolia. 

SIMHE services providing tools and specialised education tracks to increase employment 

SIMHE services have been developed since 2016 to tackle obstacles in the education and career paths of international experts living in Finland. The services have been co-created in regional and national collaboration and in networks with the local businesses and industry. Over the years altogether 3,300 customers have mapped their career prospects in guidance services for individuals and groups in Metropolia.  

With the employment pilots in the Helsinki region the number of customers guided to Metropolia’s services will significantly increase. Alongside the target group of the pilots, the Metropolia SIMHE guidance services will continue to be available for any immigrant with a higher education background living in Finland.   

In addition to guidance services, Metropolia provides workshops and support to networking with local employers as part of the employment pilots. As a new service concept, approximately 230 customers of the employment pilots will annually be guided to Career Boost Programmes which aim at developing further professional competences and landing a job at the end of the programme. The concept includes recognition of competence, professional and Finnish language studies, career guidance and tools as well as collaboration with companies and other organisations. The Career Boost programmes are available for experts in the fields of automation business, business administration, ICT, nursing as well as real estate and construction. In nursing, the goal is to obtain the right to practise the profession in Finland. 

International experts as a solution for shortage of skilled workforce in Finland 

According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries, by 2030, the working-age population in Finland will decrease by 130,000

The shortage of skills is already now particularly challenging for example in the ICT and health care sectors. The recent report by the pension provider of the public sector Keva states that currently the Uusimaa region alone has a shortage of 3,500 nurses. On the other hand, The Technology Industries of Finland has for years now called for action to increase the availability of skilled labour force in the technology and ICT industry.   

“To solve the shortage of skills we need not only continuous learning opportunities for Finnish professionals, but also work-based immigration”, states SIMHE Director Heidi Stenberg from Metropolia. 

At the same time, according to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of the Uusimaa region, in the capital region alone over 7,800 unemployed international experts are struggling to find employment. 

“This is the flaw in the system that we need to address if we want to secure sustainable growth for Finland. This is the goal that we are working for when developing solutions in SIMHE services. Now in collaboration with the cities, companies and other organisations the scope of our services will be extended significantly”, Stenberg highlights.    

The obstacles for recruiting international professionals are often linked to requirements on Finnish language skills or hesitations on the suitability of e.g. the international degree for the job. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health also points out that recruitment practices can include discrimination, also unconsciously or unintentionally. National initiatives have been launched to tackle the shortage of skills and obstacles for employment, including the Talent Boost programme run jointly by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of Education and Culture.  

Higher education institutions and new types of education solutions upskilling Finland 

Higher education institutions play a key role in developing competences and providing continuous learning opportunities for different target groups.  

”Metropolia is committed to seek solutions for societal challenges and to build a sustainable future. Having SIMHE services harnessed for the employment pilots is an excellent example of our commitment and expertise. We are constantly developing also other solutions to increase the employment rate, for example models to support our international degree students’ employment in Finland. Furthermore, the AMKoodari training programme, run jointly with five universities of applied sciences, tackling the severe shortage of coders, has been a success”, states the President, CEO of Metropolia Riitta Konkola

The goal of a 75 percent employment rate set by the government requires large-scale collaboration and systemic changes. Higher education institutions have the expertise to tailor education solutions to develop the competence of the workforce. In order to reach the employment target, however, also cross-sectoral collaboration with employers, cities and other stakeholders is needed. 

The local government pilots on employment aim to create new solutions through networks. The effectiveness of the service concept of Metropolia will be evaluated by the quality system of the institution and by an external study by the JOUSTE project, commissioned by the Finnish government. The goal is to develop durable services to make sure that all competence and workforce potential in Finland is rightfully utilised and embraced. 

Further information

Heidi Stenberg, SIMHE Director
See profile in People Finder

Anne Karjalainen, Project Manager
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Website of the project "Developing Competence Center Functions for the Helsinki region"