3.3 Skills forecasting
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Skills Panorama (2017), published by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training Cedefop of the European Commission, comments on the skills forecasting system in Finland in a section entitled Skills anticipation in Finland. It is stipulated that, ’in Finland skills anticipation activities, at the national level lead by the Finnish National Agency for Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture, are well-established and linked to policymaking. In recent years, socioeconomic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing number of people in the labour force, and the ageing population has increased the need for better matching between the skills supply and demand. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken. The aim is to steer the education system – both vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE) – to meet the needs of the labour market. This is being achieved by making skills anticipation more comprehensive, with input and feedback from the government (central, regional and local) and from stakeholders increasingly including employers, trade unions, and labour market intermediaries as well as education institutions and their staff and students. Skills anticipation takes into account sectoral, occupational and geographical differences, and includes skills assessments, skills forecasting, skills foresight, and employer surveys.’
Based on the aforementioned Skills anticipation in Finland published in the Skills Panorama (2017) of Cedefop, in Finland ‘skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. The funding that higher education institutions receive from the Ministry of Education depends on the results from the long-term labour force assessments, the VATTAGE (economical) and MITENNA (educational) models. Skills anticipation results feed the so-called performance agreements that set the priorities and qualitative and quantitative targets that the institutions need to meet. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions. There is, however, room for improvement, related to strengthening the links between skills anticipation results and the development of education strategies at sub-national levels; ensuring greater coherence among the various exercises taking place across the country; and providing user-friendlier labour market information to support informed decisions of school leavers and job seekers.
Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the overall approach. There is a drive to make the outputs from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policymakers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to better inform students, job seekers and employers.’