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Finland: guidelines for training workplace instructors have been revised

The guidelines are intended for use by trainers of workplace instructors. The Finnish National Board of Education recommends that as many people as possible whose roles involve workplace instruction should be able to participate in training for workplace instructors. Workplace instructor training promotes the abilities of people to function as instructors and develop their own work. The training programme is suitable for training both workplace instructors and apprenticeship trainers.

Workplace instructors have gained an increasingly prominent role since the beginning of the millennium, when upper secondary vocational qualifications were supplemented with periods of on-the-job learning with a minimum duration of six months, during which students acquire some of the vocational skills required in the qualification requirements. In 2006, vocational skills demonstrations were introduced to assess students’ competences in vocational qualification modules. Vocational skills demonstrations are generally organised as part of on-the-job learning. Workplace instructors work with teachers in instructing students during on-the-job learning and in planning, implementing and assessing vocational skills demonstrations.
According to the Vocational Education and Training Decree (811/1998, section 5), signing a contract on training to be organised at a workplace requires the training workplace to have enough personnel qualified in terms of vocational skills, training and work experience who can be assigned as instructors responsible for individual students, in order to organise training and vocational skills demonstrations in accordance with the qualification requirements for upper secondary vocational qualifications and competence-based qualifications. The aim is for an increasing proportion of vocational training, vocational skills demonstrations and competence tests to be organised at workplaces.

The three-credit training programme provides those functioning as workplace instructors with an opportunity to acquire competences in planning workplace training, instruction of students, assessment of learning, as well as assessment of vocational skills as part of vocational skills demonstrations and competence tests. In addition, it offers an opportunity to develop workplace instructors’ abilities to take students with special needs and those from different language and cultural groups into account.

Workplace instructor training is implemented flexibly in accordance with specific situations and competence needs of individuals functioning as workplace instructors, making use of methods such as multiform learning. Each provider of workplace instructor training is responsible for customising the training programme for each participant according to whether the participant is primarily involved in instructing and assessing students in upper secondary vocational education and training, preparatory training for competence-based qualifications or apprenticeship training. In addition, each individual’s prior learning should be taken into account.

Workplace instructor training may be funded by different parties, including companies, the educational administration, training providers and competence test organisers. Workplace instructor training may also be carried out as part of development projects where this is expedient in terms of achieving project objectives. Each provider of workplace instructor training is responsible for recognition of prior learning as well as for the content and award of certificates.

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