Key findings and further development of skills programmes
The educational institutes have reported that a large number of NAO students have complicated issues (drugs, mental health, bullying, learning difficulties, etc.) that are reflected in their self esteem and have resulted in dropping out of studies as youths several times. To those considering providing a NAO course, it is repeatedly emphasised that NAO is adult education and training carried out by means of work-based methods (instead of "school-like" methods) and that resources are available for support, guidance and counselling. The studies are personalised, previously obtained knowledge and skills can be identified and recognised, opportunities are provided for finding one’s own field, and orientation courses for adult education are offered. The NAO education provides exactly the same proficiency and competence-based qualification as any other studies aimed at qualifications or parts thereof. Students themselves have emphasised in surveys that the increased feeling of being part of society is the most important by-product of NAO education. This has contributed to the fact that the dropout rate has remained at a tolerable level (more results should be obtained on this subject in the future). It is also noteworthy that not all NAO students have particular issues; some students have simply not been able to complete a degree for one reason or another.
The Young Adults' Skills Programme will continue until the end of 2016 (until the end of 2018 for unfinished education) and two work seminars per year will be organised for the executors in 2016–2017. Therefore, the educational institutions have time to polish their practices and develop new ones. Several theses from NAO teachers and instructors are about to be completed and they have been and will be presented in the shared work seminars of the network (all materials are available at www.oph.fi/nao ).
It is not too early to say that, based on the results of two surveys, the educational institutes' expertise regarding a new, somewhat challenging target group has increased and their networks have expanded. The educational institutes also seem to have integrated their experiences from the NAO and ENO skills programmes into their normal operations. However, the materials reveal that some of the institutes only have a limited network for application and support operations and that partly the same institutes also have a limited selection of means to support degrees of the NAO target group compared to other institutes. For the final round of surveys planned for the autumn of 2016, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is expecting that even more practices developed in NAO will have been modelled and that the new models will be extensively used around Finland; one further reason for this is that the funding system for vocational training will be reformed as of the beginning of 2017 to be more results-based.
Due to the increased number of asylum seekers, there is a new target group that could have use for the practices and experiences of the NAO and ENO programmes with a fast schedule as early as in the spring of 2016.
About the writer
Erno Hyvönen is a project planner of the Young adults’ skills and Improving the competence of adults programmes at the Ministry for Education and Culture. His duties include monitoring the results of programmes, supporting the institutions carrying out the programmes as well as sharing the programme results.
Links to the other blogs about the Young Adults' Skills Programme in Finland:
- Good practices of the Young Adults' Skills Programme in Finland (main page)
- Background and administration of the Young Adults' Skills Programme
- Realisation of the programme's goals – NAO
- Realisation of the programme's goals – ENO
- Cooperation networks and cases of application operations
- Internal policy reforms and cases of institutes
- Methods and cases for building the early stages of studies
- Methods and cases for support during studies