Finland Needs International Students to Succeed – Suomen Ekonomit

Finland needs international students to succeed
Last year, labour market organisations proposed increasing the number of international degree students by
several orders of magnitude. During the coronavirus crisis, the discussion has unfortunately died down. The
Finnish Business School Graduates wishes to highlight the issue once more, as Finland needs a solution for
the deficit of competent professionals.

“Due to the current age structure and population development in Finland, we have a dire need for young
professionally skilled labour. In addition to this, the Finnish society is very knowledge-intensive. In order to
ensure future growth, we need more experts and creative people in our country.”

According to Ted Apter, Special Advisor for the Finnish Business School Graduates, Finland should make a
strategic decision to integrate international degree students into the Finnish labour market during their
studies. “This will ensure a smoother path to employment for them,” Apter points out.

The Finnish Business School Graduates believes that the shared goal of labour market organisations must
be resuscitated and put into action.

Work experience is important on the path forward
According to Apter, drawing students to Finland will require an increased number of new high-quality
Bachelor’s degree programmes that are provided in languages other than Finnish. Master’s degree
programmes are already available. However, if we draw students to Finland at a younger age, we can form
connections with employers during their studies through summer jobs, for example.

Another way to help students gain experience with employment would be to incorporate high-quality
internship, final project and thesis arrangements in the study programmes. Each student could be offered
the opportunity to complete them at a business or in the public or third sector.

This could also open the door to the first job of a student’s work career. Employment should also be
facilitated in other ways by making the residence permit procedures more flexible, for example.

In Apter’s opinion, international students should also be considered in language studies better than before.
What this means in practice is that more investments are needed in language studies. This need is present
at all institutions of higher education, which is why collaboration to organise effective language studies
would be a good idea.

Onwards through determined cooperation
According to Apter, determined efforts are needed on multiple levels of society to substantially increase
the number of international students and integrate them into working life.
“When we can better understand and communicate the need to increase education-based immigration to
maintain Finland’s commitment to social well-being, it will be easier to engage institutions of higher
education, student organisations, labour market organisations and businesses in closer cooperation.
Finland’s future depends on it.”