The forest industry offers sustainable and meaningful work suited for various skillsets. Skilled workforce is a prerequisite of success for the forest industry. The industry will also need competent workers in the future, which is why we must ensure that education and training meets the changing needs of working life.

Skilled workforce needed for the forest industry

The forest industry offers interesting and diverse jobs. The need for workforce isincreased by investments, the renewal of the industry and retiring workers. It is important to ensure the sufficiency of professional workers. Developing competence and a flexible, high-quality education and training system are some of the key factors in maintaining the competitive strength of the forest industry.

Diverse partnerships between businesses and education and training providers are used in developing competence and fulfilling workforce needs. To ensure the availability of skilled workforce, the forest industry influences national educational policy, the content and volume of studies and training important to the forest industry as well as the allocation of education and training resources. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation works in close cooperation with the organisations of the industry as well as other export industry federations in achieving shared goals concerning educational policy.

Listening to working life in the development of vocational education and training

Vocational education and training produces skilled workforce for harvesting, transport and forest industry production. The vocational education and training focuses on competence, a customer-oriented mindset and individual study paths. The forest industry monitors the reformation of vocational education and training and promotes education and training adjusted according to the needs of working life. The goal is to emphasise the social significance and develop the flexibility of vocational education and training while producing workforce with diverse skills for the changing labour market.


Profiling strengthens higher education

The forest industry needs both the research expertise offered by universities and the working life-oriented education and training offered by universities of applied sciences. When increasing cooperation between universities and universities of applied sciences, it is important to focus on ensuring that study modules completed in different educational institutions can be used in different degrees, regardless of where the modules were completed. This reduces overlapping studies and helps students graduate faster, while enabling those in working life to update their skills as needed without having to participate in a degree programme.

For the continued success of the forest industry, it is important that Finland can offer top experts in research, product development and innovation. Strengthening the cooperation between higher education institutions and the economy produces innovation that creates new business. The cooperation is promoted through various partnership agreements designed to standardise the provision of theses, traineeship positions, guest lecturers, mentor programmes or scientific cooperation, among other things.


Continuous learning at workplaces

The needs for developing competence are based on the company’s strategy. Most of the learning takes place alongside work, but considerable financial and temporal resources are also spent on learning. Learning at workplaces is increased and diversified in cooperation between working life and education and training providers. The apprenticeship system must be flexible and enable individual study paths. Theadministrative and financial load of employers must be alleviated.

In the forest industry, apprenticeship training is the most common form of training afterfinishing vocational upper secondary education and training. Apprenticeship training has proven to be a great way to update workers’ skills and recruit new workers. The training agreement, an on-the-job learning model not subject to an employment relationship, has been developed as an alternative solution to apprenticeship training. It also promotes the training of immigrants. The training agreement can be used as a preliminary module for apprenticeship, efficiently integrating training without an employment relationship with apprenticeship under an employment contract. In addition to apprentice ships and training agreements, businesses utilise job rotation to develop workers’ skills and motivate them through variation. The tools of continuous learning used by businesses promote flexible, precise learning at the workplace and offer apractical solution for degree studies.