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Finnish Trip Boosts Enterprise and Creative Ideas for College

Finland may regard themselves as the ‘quiet’ one of the Nordic countries, but in terms of education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties and quality of life they frequently come out top in terms of national performance.

Dundee and Angus College were therefore delighted when they got the opportunity of an Erasmus funded trip to Finland to visit OMNIA college and experience first- hand their culture and business values.

OMNIA customer engagement

For the College’s Employability team it was the perfect opportunity to witness some ground-breaking elements of Finnish education including, how they embed enterprise into the curriculum.  Team Manager, Karen Donaldson said, “What impressed us the most was how Omnia College bought land to allow construction students to help design and build houses.   These were then sold on the open market.”.

But those weren't the only enterprising elements. The team were also impressed by the strong design culture, how students had enterprise built into every course, how students get paid and fed for attending full time courses, three different levels of vocational education, strong college/business partnerships and  superior apprenticeship provision where employers are paid to take on apprentices. 

Perhaps one of the most innovative projects is 'The Finnish Experiment' which gives 2000 unemployed individuals a universal basic income and then the opportunity to find part time work without losing their benefits.

As Karen Donaldson says, "This really has been a remarkable trip and has given us much food for thought in terms of how we proceed with our employer/business relationships"

finland hairdressers1web

 Meanwhile our students from Business and Administration and Hair and Beauty were also given a wonderful insight into another culture and education system.  

For the HND Admin and Business students there was the chance of a supervised work placement at the conference centre in Helsinki, working with the OMNIA vocational staff. As Course Leader, Wendy McEwen says there have been benefits already.   “We’ve been able to bring back some new software and enterprise ideas and we’re already developing these further. For the staff as well as the students, it was great to make contact with colleagues in other countries.”

Debbie Donaldson is the Course Leader in Hairdressing and Beauty.   “The students had an amazing time supporting Finnish students in their classes. They also learned some new health and safety and hygiene procedures for staff working in salons and got to experience the wonderful spa learning facilities at the college.”

finnish girls in salon