After elementary school
The compulsory education ends after elementary/ comprehensive school. It is worth thinking what you want to do with life and what you want to study. Find out your strengths and study what you feel like. There are plenty of choices in life!
For some, the choices are clear, while others have no idea how their own future will be. If the situation is unclear, it is a good idea to talk to your student counselor well in advance. He can tell you about different options and together you can identify your strengths and aspirations for the future. Consult with people close to you: you can get very good tips from them. Larger cities have youth services with professional guides from different backgrounds. You can discuss ideas and plans for your own future. A career psychologist can also help you in these contents. You can find them at the Career Planning Services of the Employment and Economic Development Office and the service is free but requires an appointment. The services of a vocational psychologist can be used by young people as well as adults. The meeting explores the client’s prerequisites, goals, and options, and attempts to create an appropriate career plan. The service is supported by, for example, aptitude tests, work and training experiments, and health surveys.
The duration of high school is usually three years, with a minimum of 75 courses. The studies consist of compulsory, advanced and applied courses. Your own course tray can be influenced and emphasized by the subjects that interest you most. Special upper secondary schools are also available, but these are not available in all locations. For example, a high school may be sports or music-oriented. There are 4 upper secondary schools in Vaasa: Vaasa Lyceum High School , Vasa Gymnasium, Vasa övningsskola Gymnasium and IB Line and Vaasa svenska aftonläroverk.
Another option is vocational training. It is offered, for example, by vocational schools, folk high schools, and specialized vocational schools. The training leads to an undergraduate degree of 120 credits, of which at least 20 credits are on-the-job training. The completion time will vary according to your progress, previous studies and any previous work experience. After the degree, it is possible to apply for a job or to pursue postgraduate studies at a polytechnic or university. There are dozens of degrees in Finnish, Swedish or English at Vocational Schools in the Vaasa Region. You can find more information from Vamia’s webpage.
Most of the schools often cooperate with each other. This allows, for example, the combination of vocational education and high school curriculum. You should ask your student counselor about the alternatives.
An apprenticeship is a vocational training program based on a fixed-term employment relationship, which also involves studying at a vocational school or an adult education center. Studies and work-based learning are mutually supportive and is beneficial for the student.
Apprenticeships, for example, may be applied for by persons who are completely without basic vocational training. The learner is looking for an apprenticeship position. You can get help from the Employment and Economic Development Office.
The student and the employer enter into an apprenticeship contract which states the duration of the contract, the length of the probationary period, the degree to be awarded and the basis for the salary. The agreement also defines the main responsibilities, the duration of the studies, the responsible on-the-job trainers, the amount of compensation paid to the employer and other matters necessary for the studies.
The contract is always approved by the training provider, i.e. the apprenticeship agency or the apprenticeship training institute. The apprenticeship agreement follows the collective agreement in the field. As part of the training, the possibility of passing a qualification examination should be organized.
Apprenticeship training should be conducted properly. Regularly attending the required knowledge-based training and completing the required tasks under the supervision of the employer will give you a strong knowledge base for the future.
There are extensive study opportunities in Finland, but studying abroad can also be beneficial. International experience, language skills and new acquaintances will enrich lives and increase opportunities for the labor market.
You can study abroad as a young person or as an adult, and the time spent there can vary from one week to several years. For many young people, their first exposure to independence and internationality is a language course for a couple of weeks, for example learning English language in England.
If a minor wants to complete a full degree abroad, he or she needs permission from his or her guardian. In some countries it is not even possible for a young person to live independently. It is good idea to check in advance the system and regulations of both countries before leaving. Studying abroad may differ a lot from your own culture and studying abroad is not free like here in Finland. For example, the amount of tuition fees may be surprising.
Exchange studies are a popular way to go abroad during your studies. Polytechnic and university students can go abroad to study through an exchange program, and many degree programs strongly encourage foreign experience. High school students and vocational school students can also go abroad as exchange students. Some educational institutions are involved in international projects that ensure a safe departure from abroad. Contact your school’s counselor for more information.
Elementary school students have access to short periods abroad, for example, if the school has a twinning program or is part of an international project.
If you are interested in foreign countries, it is a good idea to find out in advance. It is wise to plan the trip and be careful while preparing for the trip. Check the safety issues of the destination country and their cultural differences before entering the plane. Experiences abroad are usually ones that are remembered even in old age, and at best souvenirs remain solid language skills, the courage to act independently and lasting friendships.