Demand for adult education is projected to rocket after a record-high year of lay-offs.
LAY-OFFS and co-determination procedures increased dramatically in Finland in 2012, suggests the Central Organisation for Finnish Trade Unions, SAK. As labour force needs plummet across ailing industries, a career change becomes inevitable for many, while others prepare for redundancies amid deteriorating job security by acquiring new skills or refining old ones in adult education.
The demand for adult education services has rocketed, confirms Nina Hakola, a manager at Studentum.fi – an online gateway to educational opportunities. “The demand has increased notably. Online enquiries concerning adult education have doubled in recent years,” she says.
One of the key responsibilities of adult education is to ensure the availability and competence of the labour force. Therefore, the Ministry of Education and Culture recognises that adult education also promotes national efforts to extend careers, reduce unemployment and enhance productivity.
In an evolving employment landscape with ever-increasing redundancies, adult education facilitates the transition of employees from one industry to another.
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According to Hakola, middle-aged people concerned about employment prospects have emerged among the largest user groups of adult education. “In e-mail enquiries, these people readily tell about being made redundant or the daunting threat of the axe.” For many, she believes, lay-offs represent an opportunity to realise their dream jobs.
“There is little despair, although many speak of lay-offs or uncertainty when weighing up their choices. They offer new opportunities.”
Some have no need for such incentives. “People who entered the labour market early in their lives may decide to pursue their dream jobs after ten or twenty years of work,” says Hakola. For yet others, the skills offered by adult education also represent means of preparation, and fall-backs.
LEHTIKUVA / SARI GUSTAFSSON / JARNO MELA
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