The school of vocational teacher education

The School of Vocational Teacher Education is a national and international developer of vocational education and training, polytechnic education and the professional sector. These operations are implemented through teacher education, special-needs teacher education, student counsellor education, supplementary training as well as research and development.

Developing operations with a focus on quality

The changes in upper secondary education and the 2030 vision for institutes of higher education reflected in our operations in 2017, which was also the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. Haaga-Helia’s quality system audit enabled us to specify our quality operations. The feedback students provided upon completing their degrees showed that our operations have been a success. Our students gave us excellent feedback on the personalisation of studies, engagement and guidance.

Number of students in the School of Vocational Teacher Education 2017


We reformed development programmes and study guidance activities in the vocational teacher education, special-needs teacher education and student counsellor education. Concurrently, we developed the process of collecting feedback during the studies to better take students into consideration. In 2017, a total of 350 students started their studies. During the year, a total of 352 students graduated: 296 teachers, 20 student counsellors and 36 special-needs teachers.

With the support of the National Board of Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture, we launched continuing education courses, which support the implementation of the vocational education reform. Courses will be provided in cooperation with other schools of vocational teacher education. One example is the Parasta osaamista project coordinated by the Jyväskylä Educational Consortium. The project brings together schools of vocational teacher education, which, together with ten education providers, map the future competence needs of teaching and guidance staff and, based on the results, plan development measures and solutions.

Developing education through project cooperation and networks

The vocational education reform and higher education pedagogy were also themes in the RDI operations. The Verkkovirta project funded by ESF included a total of 50 corporate partners. In the project, we tested and developed operating methods and models for educationalisation of work and deployed them as part of higher education. We continued and further developed the integration of working life with higher education in the Toteemi project.

In the ESF-funded Jatkoväylä project, we piloted models for smooth transitioning between vocational education and higher education in Haaga-Helia’s StartUp School environment, among others. In the Peruskoulusta joustavasti ammattiin project, comprehensive school pupils apply what they had learned in school to the working life, creating closer cooperation with vocational education. We promoted peer group mentoring in Ministry of Education and Culture projects and worked on transversal skills in workshops in Wihuri-funded 3UAS projects.

We put the learning contents of Finnish companies to the test in the SCALA project of the BEAM programme (Tekes/Ministry for Foreign Affairs) for mobile pedagogy research in three pilots in Brazil in cooperation with Municipal University Sae Caetano do Sul and the Lappeenranta University of Technology. We developed contents and services further in cooperation with students in Haaga-Helia’s ICT degree programme.

In the Keskeyttäneet kouluun KEKO project funded by ESF, we generated ways to prevent dropout among vocational students by means of art-based methods. The Toimintaa ja kohtaamisia project aims to strengthen human rights in vocational teacher education. The Opeke project develops and reforms vocational teacher education as a whole. 

We released a total of 43 publications. We created blog text series in different projects, compiled publications for Haaga-Helia’s publication series as well as prepared scientific articles and conference presentations.

Education exports and international cooperation on the increase

Our education exports have also increased. In 2017, a total of 50 teachers graduated from the 60-credit programme offered in South Africa. Feedback from students has been positive, and the third group of students started their studies in June 2017. In September, we launched a new teacher education programme in Colombia.

In 2017, a total of approximately 1,400 people participated in development programmes in continuing education, earning a total of nearly 9,000 credits.

Together with our international partners, we organised a seminar with the theme of learning and assessment on the job. A new operating method that we applied in the meetings of the Advisory Board of the School of Vocational Teacher Education was expert presentations given by the members. We have also increased cooperation between the student members of the Advisory Board, students and teacher education staff.

The Toteemi projects seeks ways to integrate work and studies

Many Finns work in positions that match their education during their academic studies, but work and studies do not always go hand in hand. Haaga-Helia coordinates the Toteemi project of 16 universities of applied sciences and two academic universities, which seeks models and solutions for integrating work and higher education. Together with the Otus research foundation for studies and education, Haaga-Helia’s Toteemi team produces research data on integration of work and studies and, for example, on the experiences of university of applied sciences graduates on the competence needed at work.