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International mobility in vocational education and training picking up again

Current issues Vocational education and training Erasmus+ yhteiset Erasmus+ for vocational education Internationalisation Statistics
The number of international mobility periods among Finnish vocational (VET) students decreased sharply after 2016. In 2018, however, the downward trend seems to be evening out. In 2018 some 5 300 students did longer or shorter training periods of less than 2 weeks abroad.
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The annual fluctuation of the number of students is typical in vocational education and training. Particularly the number of students doing short mobility periods differs from year to year. Also the budget cuts in the last few years in VET in Finland are reflected in the numbers.

Almost 12 % of the students of a year course are internationally mobile. This figure was calculated by comparing the number of mobile students in 2017 to the number of new students in upper secondary VET.

graph: Trends in student mobility in VET 2009–2018

Figure 1. Trends in student mobility in VET 2009–2018

Inward mobility to Finland increased

The number of foreign students coming to study in Finland grew by 6.5 % in2018 compared to the year before. These students accounted for 6 % of all new students in VET institutions.

The fluctuation in these figures has been smaller than in the figures for outward mobility. Finland has remained a relatively popular partner and target country.

Erasmus+ programme has contributed remarkably to the funding of work-based training periods

Some 80 % of mobility periods abroad are funded through the European Commission Erasmus+ programme. Mobility periods abroad funded by the VET institutions have decreased.  The Erasmus mobility budget has grown by 30 % in the last few years. The emphasis today is on long mobility periods of more than 2 weeks.

Today there is also more emphasis on funding work-based training periods. More than 90 % of the mobility periods of Finnish students are training in enterprises, which has been a rising trend. Some half of the students coming to Finland participate in training in the work places and the other half study in VET institutions.

Mobility periods typically last for 6 weeks. Most students go to other European countries. The most popular target countries in mobility periods of more than two weeks are Spain and Britain, for short-term periods Sweden and Estonia. Most foreign students come to Finland from the Netherlands and Russia.