Yliopistolaisia pöydän ympärillä. University people around table

Ministry funding for continuous learning

At the end of the year, the University of Oulu received strategic funding for the development of continuous learning and special funding for relieving the shortage of professionals in different fields. The amount of strategic funding received by the university ranks third after the universities of Helsinki and Aalto.

The Ministry of Education and Culture granted funding to the University of Oulu for various activities towards the end of the year. Funding targets vary from precision competence worth a few credits to wider competence entities and comprehensive development of education.

Four million euros of funding were allocated to the development of the educational offering and operating models of continuous learning. Continuous learning is the continuous development of competence from the perspective of the individual, employers and society as a whole.

“Continuous learning should be seen as an activity covering the whole university that combines both campuses and utilises digitalisation. It supports the curriculum work of the faculties, especially the recognition and productisation of educational entities and steering services of continuous learning,” says Director Eva Raudasoja of Extension school (TOPIK).

The University of Oulu intends to develop a predictive model for education and competence needs in cooperation with the area’s actors to be utilised in the design of quick-acting educational entities responding to the competence needs. Being a multidisciplinary university, the University of Oulu is capable of responding to the regional, national and global competence need arising in various ways from the surrounding society.

“The strategic funding and special funding for relieving the shortage of professionals granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture enable for the University of Oulu to play a more active role in the development of the educational offering of continuous learning. In order to be able to predict future competence needs, we will invite interest groups to engage in dialogue on how to best create joint preconditions for supplementing competence during working careers,” says Vice Rector for Education Helka-Liisa Hentilä of University of Oulu.

Allocated funding for fields suffering from a shortage of professionals

Late in December, the Ministry of Education and Culture granted special funding to institutions of higher education allocated for relieving the shortage of professionals in the fields of construction, technology and social and health care. The education projects will be quick-acting and implemented in close cooperation with the regional working life, ELY Centres and regional employment administration.

The University of Oulu participates in five cooperation projects that received funding. In addition, the university received funding for its logopedics education (EUR 99,000).

The social and health care projects, in which the University of Oulu is one of the partners, received in total EUR 797,810. The projects regard a rehabilitation service entity, nursing management education and continuing education for well-being management.

The University of Oulu also participates in an education entity focusing on the national energy storage aiming at relieving the shortage of professionals in the technology sector. The project is called FITech Energy Storage and it was granted EUR 253,275 in separate funding. The university will organise courses at least on the topics of smart grids, machine learning and nanotechnology within the project.

In addition to these, the University of Oulu partners in a project that received EUR 792,000 for increasing the number of technology graduates in the areas of Lapland, South-Eastern Finland and Central and North Ostrobothnia. The main funding applicant was Lapland University of Applied Sciences.

Status of FITech in assembling ICT education grows stronger

Higher education institutions were also granted special funding for relieving the shortage on professional coders. The biggest project funding (MEUR 10) for creating a national education entity focusing on the ICT field was granted to the FITech Group, in which the University of Oulu also partners. The share of Oulu is approximately EUR 460,000.

The global shortage of professionals in the ICT field is seen especially in Finland where the share of ICT professionals in the workforce is exceptionally large. With the help of funding, the institutions of higher education will be better equipped to smoothly react to the growth of the ICT sector. The University of Oulu will organise courses on artificial intelligence, operating systems and software engineering within FITech. The goal is to implement continuous working life education in cooperation with the higher education institutions and companies. This will enable the institutions of higher education to focus on the development of in-depth competence and the companies will be able to complement it with practice-oriented education.

Last updated: 15.1.2019