ECER 2000 Proceedings
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Heiskanen, Lilli & Jokinen, Pauliina
The FLEX-VET project in Finland: vocational training including mechatronics and the training needs of the Finnish metal industry
Finland has studied the present key qualifications and core problems of the metal industry. In the second phase of the project the companies using mechatronics were concentrated on. In Finland mechatronics is defined as the integration of electronics, software and mechanics starting at the early product development and design stages. With the help of the information technology the steering system of the machines can be developed to be more versatile, faster and often more reliable than before. Applying the thinking and know-how of mechatronics helps to develop products of higher value and thus to increase customer satisfaction. The enterprises interviewed were two large enterprises from southern Finland and two SME enterprises from Central Finland. The interviewees were production workers and their representatives and the representatives of the management. Special attention was paid to the key qualifications required in work and the core problems and reactions to changes in metal industry. According to the interviews the following key qualifications appeared to be the most important for the enterprises: Readiness to participate in further training, IT knowledge, Social skills (communication and co-operation), Responsibility, Learning to learn, Languages (internationalisation). The same qualifications were found in the wider surveys and training needs analyses made by The Confederation of the Finnish Industry and Employers (TT). The national curriculum for the upper secondary level vocational qualification (in machine and metal field) includes also these key qualifications of the flexible broadly skilled employee. The next question is how the vocational training in metalwork and machinery corresponds to the trends and training needs of the Finnish metal industry. How the key qualifications and changes needed in working life are implemented in upper secondary vocational training including mechatronics? The results of the surveys concerning the needs of working life are without value if they are not used as guidelines for more responsive VET and as tools for developing better labour force of the future.
Manning, Sabine; Raffe, David (eds.). 2000. VETNET ECER 2000 proceedings: Current research in European vocational education and human resource development. Berlin: Wissenschaftsforum Bildung und Gesellschaft e.V. [Internet: http://www.b.shuttle.de/wifo/vet/ecer00.htm].