At the end of June 2017, the Finnish Parliament approved new legislation for vocational education and training. The reform is the most extensive in education legislation in almost twenty years. The new act will enter into force on 1 January 2018.

The aim is to have every young person complete at least an upper secondary qualification. The most significant change is the way of thinking, shifting from a system-centred approach to a competence-based one. Personal study paths, broad-based competence and close cooperation with working life are core issues.

This new reform, will allow learners to address their individual competence needs by offering them the opportunity to acquire qualifications flexibly, attending programmes in education institutions, workplaces and in digital learning environments. Programmes will be also available in preparatory education and training not leading to qualification.

A new training agreement mode, introduced in this reform, will increase the opportunities for studying at workplaces. Existing apprenticeship training will become more attractive since the competences acquired through training agreements or apprenticeships will be demonstrated in practical work situations. Competences will be assessed by teachers and working life experts.

Responding to the volatile working environment, learners will be allowed to apply for and begin their training courses according to their needs. There have been two application dates for VET: in spring and in autumn. An online application system will be also introduced that will allow learners to apply through the year.