#3 Competence Recognition of the Vocational Teacher’s Work and Operational Environment

Task description

Become familiar with the main strategic objectives of your organization or one of your choosing and its development needs. If possible, examine the development needs in relation to the changes that arise within the organization. Also engage your work community in a shared discussion.

Get to know the strategies, development plans and projects in your work and operational environment. Seek out and record matters that are important to you. Identify operations in which you could participate and which you could develop. Also familiarize yourself with the topics of sustainable development, entrepreneurship, internationalization competence and multiculturalism, pointing out how they relate to your own work.

Please write citation of the references in the text and list the references you have consulted at the end of your essay.

Write an essay in which you consider the following:

  • What are the current topics of discussion in your work and operational environment?
  • How current development challenges are brought to the fore and how they are addressed
  • What kinds of opportunities does your work and operational environment offer for the development of vocational teacher competences?
  • How do you combine your own development needs as a vocational teacher with those of your work and operational environment?


Porvoo Campus © Marika Alhonen

Porvoo Campus © Marika Alhonen

The current topics of discussion at my workplace and operational environment at HAAGA-HELIA Porvoo Campus are the creation of a new specialisation at the Degree Programme of Business Administration focusing on In Sales and Marketing instead of the previous one focusing solely on Marketing, the bilingual education in Finnish and Swedish as well as hot topics such as the role of technology in education and the ever-changing workspace and its impact on vocational education and training.

On a global level, ”The world of work is a very dynamic field; it’s changing all the time and therefore vocational education and training changes itself in order to reflect the changes in the world of work,” admits Professor Lorna Unwin Editor of the Journal of Vocational Education and Training. (Education Arena, 2010)

On an European Union level, “bridging the gap between skills supply and demand (…) and what skills are needed now and in the future to ensure EU competitiveness in the field of science and innovation,” are the clear focus of the discussions of the EU research ministers at the EU Competitiveness Council in Vilnius (Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, 2013).

On a strategic level at my education institution, according to an internal UAS renewal HAAGA-HELIA 2013 – 2015 document published on HAAGA-HELIA’s intranet, there are a number of change drivers including a number of subject matters that demand the attention and action of the teacher in vocational education. Those are Policy decisions of the Ministry of Education and Culture including permits, funding, change in status as a legal person, HAAGA-HELIA strategy foundation (Development of management system, Performance management, Organisation reviews), Quality of operations, finances and premises (Renewal of operating models and processes, Functioning of feedback systems, Accreditation/ certification, Finances, Premises) Pedagogical strategy (Application options, admission criteria and curriculum structures; regulations, Modular structure of programmes, Student support and speeding up graduation) RDI strategy (Strengthening RDI operations, External funding), Services, sales and entrepreneurship strategy (Strengthening HH profile in sales and services, Partnerships in corporate services and further education, Development of internal services), International strategy (Export of education as growth enabler), Staff competencies strategy (Safeguarding competencies, Coaching programme for superiors, Real-life and RDI expertise, Up-keeping workplace well-being, Transfer of competencies and quantitative adjustment, Optimisation of division of labour, Resourcing principles, Reward mechanisms).

All the above depict the complex reality that Universities of Applied Sciences face today, which places the teacher at the center of a plethora of strategic objectives that demand actions that need to be implemented and achieved by teachers. Current development challenges are brought to the fore in teacher team meetings and joint Development Days with all staff present and they are addressed from the administration in an effort to provide a bottom-up solutions that contribute to the achievement of the objectives. The role of the teacher becomes more and more informed and involved in reaching strategic objectives.

Porvoo Campus © Lumeo YE, created by young students from Borgå Gymnasium

HAAGA-HELIA’s Porvoo Campus -where I mainly work as a teacher- is a modern educational institution that provides new learning environment, new curriculum and methods of learning. The emphasis is on Inquiry learning implemented through projects commissioned by businesses, which supports many of the future trends presented in the Competence framework for VET professions – Handbook for practitioners (2009):

  1. recognition and emphasis on informal learning
  2. collaboration within and between educational institutions and world of work
  3. networking of institutions and with local and regional stakeholders
  4. international perspectives in training
  5. use of ICT and digital networks
  6. need for holistic perception
  7. need for learner autonomy and self-directed learning
  8. competence requirements for pedagogical, networking and communication skills for teachers and trainers
  9. use of new media in education and training
  10. interaction between education and the society
  11. organisational competence development

Porvoo Campus © Lumeo YE, created by young students from Borgå Gymnasium

Personally my work and operational environment offers many opportunities for the development of vocational teacher competencies. I am privileged to work at HAAGA-HELIA UAS, an organization that truly believes in teacher education and training and trusts the individual to take responsibilities, risks and experiment with new teaching methods. I have the opportunity to be part in curricula planning and designing, to apply my newly acquired methods of teaching and student-oriented guidance and counseling to my courses, to enable collaboration with the business community in joint semester projects, to support my own entrepreneurial spirit, and support research and development-oriented approach to my daily work.

The needs of my workplace and operation environment are in accordance to my development needs presented above especially since the vision of the Universities of Applied Sciences is to “offer superior quality services for the success of students, businesses and workplace communities.” (HAAGA-HELIA, 2013)

My own development needs as a vocational teacher derive from and are interrelated with those of my work and operational environment. Working as a vocational teacher for the past three year gave me the motivation to apply to the School of Vocational Teacher Education in order to gain the tools of vocational pedagogy, bring out the competencies of the vocational students and guide their learning and growth more effectively as well as create and develop those conditions that will enable my students get into working life as competent and skilled professionals.

List the references

Unwin, Lorna. Editor of Journal of Vocational Education & Training, Journal of Vocational Education & Training Volume 65, Issue 2, 2013, Expert interview (audio and transcription) on August, 16 2010. Available at <http://www.educationarena.com/pdf/expertInterviews/transcript_cat34_rjve.pdf>

Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2013, “Europe needs to bridge gap between education supply and labour market demand.” Published on 25 July 2013, EU2013.lt Website. <http://www.eu2013.lt/en/news/europe-needs-to-bridge-gap-between-education-supply-and-labour-market-demand>, accessed July 2013.

HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. “Mission and Vision” HAAGA-HELIA UAS Website.  <http://www.haaga-helia.fi/en/about-haaga-helia/mission-and-vision>, accessed July 2013.

Volmari Kristiina, Helakorpi Seppo & Frimodt Rasmus (Eds) 2009. Competence framework for VET professions. Handbook for practitioners. Finnish National Board of Education. Publications

2 thoughts on “#3 Competence Recognition of the Vocational Teacher’s Work and Operational Environment

  1. I’m really happy that you chose to share your assignments in the blog! You of course would have benefited from any way of writing, but this approach has the added advantage of showcasing the school and spreading the word outside the immediate circle of teacher trainees. I also want to comment the way you have used references. You have a good sense of genre: in a blog the natural way of referencing is by linking, not by adding a list of references the same way you would do in a “paper article”. Keep up the good work!

    • Sun äitis, thank you for acknowledging and appreciating the effort and alert eye on the blogosphere! I truly wanted to add value to my own learning by also spreading the word about the work being done in HAAGA-HELIA and in Finland to the rest of the world! Hard as it can be to keep a balance between academic assignments and blog posts, I think the posts do it justice! Thanks! I will continue as such! Stay tuned! 🙂

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