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Finland: Skills in 2035

A National Forum for Skills Anticipation report highlights changes in competences and skills that will be needed in 2035. Important future skills include customer-oriented development of services and knowledge of sustainable development. The labour market will require digital, information evaluation and problem-solving skills.

Experts from the education and training sector and from the world of work examined the most important skills and education needs by 2035 and reflected on proposals for the development of education and training. Anticipation work was based on listings drawn up by 30 sector groups. This anticipation process was implemented between June 2017 and February 2019.

In the forecast scenario, digitalisation and technological development play a vital role. Digitalisation will become an essential condition in companies’ operation and competitiveness. It will change the operating practices of companies as well as customer behaviour.

In 2035, new jobs will emerge particularly in the high-tech industry and in the marketing and processing of highly processed products. The forecast also shows that the development of cost-efficiency and ecological sustainability will be equally important.

Knowledge of sustainable development will be an important basic skill in the future, especially in industrial sectors. The importance of such skills will become more important if societal development towards a more ecological direction continues.

The ability to learn was found to be an important skill. Development and management of personal competences was emphasised by employers.  Problem-solving and information evaluation will be essential meta-skills.

The importance of skills in customer-oriented development of services is crucial for the service sector. In the future, new types of solutions will be needed in interactive customer services, where service design and automation will play an important role.

Challenges facing continuing learning are also issues for the future.  According to the anticipation scenario, a reform of continuing learning is required in the 2020s. This means that qualifications-based learning should be only one part of competence and skills development. Continuing learning is indispensable in view of the transformation of technology. Public funding of continuing learning should be tailored to individual needs so that everyone has the flexibility choose what, where and when to study.

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. Their task is to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the ministry and the agency. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work.

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