Adult education is training planned specifically for adults. It can be external training, personnel training or labour policy training. The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the external training, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment for the labour political training, and the employers for the employee training.
Finland has an extensive adult education system. In addition to employee training or other training paid by the employer, adult education covers basic degree training, studies included in a degree, training that prepares for competence-based qualifications, apprenticeship training, additional training that expands the professional skills, or social studies or studies taken as a hobby that offer basic citizenship or working skills.
Various kinds of additional education that leads to a degree, has freely definable goals, and is of various lengths, is offered in approximately 800 educational institutes and universities. A significant part of the actual learning takes place at work and through everyday learning using various information networks, libraries, and other learning environments. For further information on the various alternatives for education, please see the links on the right.
Adult education is organised in the following organisations:
• basic education and upper secondary schools for adults
• vocational educational institutes
• national and vocational special educational institutes
• universities of applied sciences and universities
and institutes of non-formal adult education
• adult education centres
• folk high schools
• summer universities
• study centres
• physical education training centres
Vocational adult education
The intention of vocational adult education is to maintain and improve the professional expertise of adults, and to enhance employment. Adults can select from training that leads to a degree, open education consisting of parts of various degrees (e.g. open university), or training that prepares for competence-based qualifications. Additional education that renews, expands, or deepens the professional skills is an essential part of vocational adult education.
Competence-based qualifications are a flexible form of acquiring a degree, based on customer-orientation and designed specifically for adults. The competence is demonstrated at work, regardless of whether it was gathered through work experience, studies, or other activities. All basic vocational degrees, vocational degrees, and special vocational degrees can be performed as competence-based qualifications, and there are over 350 alternatives to choose from.
The competence-based qualifications are performed by demonstrating the competence required in the definitions of the degree, primarily in various authentic production and service situations in the working life. The degree is usually performed one part at a time. The performance can take place at one time or be spread out over a longer period of time like a process.
The competence-based qualifications can be taken individually or through an apprenticeship.