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Photo: Kati Virolainen

Guidance counsellor training in Finland

As a general rule, working as a guidance counsellor in a school/educational institution in Finland requires a teacher’s qualification supplemented by one of the following professional qualifications.

Most of the Finnish career practitioners have obtained their certificate within a work-based programme (60 ECTS) offered by the following training units: University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä, HAAGA-HELIA, HAMK, Jyväskylä and Oulu Universities of Applied Sciences, and the Åbo Akademi (training in Swedish). All of these programmes use a blended learning approach and many of the students have some previous experience of school counselling in temporary jobs.

There are also two Master degree programmes available. The University of Eastern Finland provides a Master degree (180 +120 = 300 ECTS), where students can have their major in either education, educational sociology or adult education. The pedagogical studies required for qualification as a teacher are also included in the training programme. Since 2002 University of Jyväskylä has been providing a two-year Master programme (120 ECTS) in guidance for those who already have a Bachelor degree in Education.

The above guidance counsellor training units have competence-based curricula. The training units cooperate in curriculum development and the following processes are embedded in all training programmes:

  • Awareness of the society, educational system and the labour market
  • Life span in societal and cultural contexts
  • Theories in education, educational psychology, sociology and philosophy
  • Theories in counselling
  • Research in the field of counselling, promoting practice & research
  • Counselling in practice, meeting the clients
  • The work of a teacher
  • Cross-sectoral networks in guidance and counselling

In the employment sector, the Salmia Training and Development Centre is the national human resources training and development centre for the local and regional labour administration. Salmia’s development priorities include the management of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and the Employment and Economic Development Offices. Further, enhancing the networking efforts of information, guidance and counselling services, and the launch and development of the operations of individual units serving ELY Centres are part of the future emphasises. Some of the development work is carried out by the Laituri project.