Successes in RDI’s Urban growth Vantaa project

Urban growth – The GSIP Vantaa (Growth and Social Investment Pacts) project aimed to support the growth of Vantaa-based companies, raise the skills level of the workforce, improve employment in the region and develop and increase jobs. The aim of the project was to develop services that meet the needs of SMEs to support growth and social investment. There is a particular need for social investment in Vantaa, as one third of Vantaa’s employees are in the labor market without primary education.

The main coordinator of the project was the City of Vantaa, Business Services and Employment Services. Laurea and Metropolia participated in the project as educational organizations in addition to Vantaa Vocational College Varia and the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce. The Business Research Institute ETLA, the Employees’ Research Institute PT, Finnair Cargo Oy, ISS Services Oy, Solteq Oyj and Vantti Oy also participated in the project. The European Union’s UIA initiative provided  the project with funding of almost 4 million euros. The project began in January 2019 and will end in July 2022.

Implementation of the project

The project examined development targets from the perspective of three growth and social investment pacts (GSIP), in which challenges, lessons learned and goals were considered. The aim of the GSIP’s were to reconcile corporate growth, responsibility and the social goals of society. GSIP’s included: GSIP 1 – labor recruitment and training, GSIP 2 – updating personnel skills and GSIP 3 –pathways to technologial change. GSIP’s were tested with the project’s partner companies and a wider range of SMEs. The aim of the testing was to verify the advantages and disadvantages of the models, and to identify functional and non-functional solutions for the services. The experience gained from testing and piloting was utilized in the development of the following GSIP’s. 

The aim of the project was to get 200 new jobs for unemployed job seekers, 30 new apprenticeships in Vantaa companies and to train and guide 700 Vantaa empolyees. The project created 106 new jobs, 87 apprenticeships and a total of 1 155 people involved in training.

Continuous learning

In 2019-2020, GSIP 1 provided employees with educational services tailored to the needs of working adults. The project investigated educational services and their role in the lives of working-age people in Vantaa. Continuous learning is unevenly distributed among the populations and is seen as an urban problem for which solutions had to be found. According to Laura Erkkilä, educated people usually continue educating in adulthood – it was important to consider how under-represented groups can be represented.

The GSIP collected feedback aimed at increasing the understanding of working students’ expectations for continuing education and a successful coaching package. Understanding students’ expectations allows for the design of better and more appropriate forms of further education for adults that support the goals of continuous learning.

The challenge for the GSIP was that education is seen as an expense rather than an investment. According to Silvennoinen and Nori (In the margins of training and learning, 2017), education is perceived as an opportunity provided by society and an employment benefit resourced by the employer. Based on the feedback, courses in which the employer resources time and money were seen as more attractive than self-funded courses or studying in leisure. However, the feedback indicated that the respondents felt positive about the education they received. Half of the respondents were ready to pay less than 500 euros for the education, and the answers showed that they are ready to invest in self-funded and for leisure studying. For the lower educated, the employer’s attitude towards education has a particularly large effect. According to the OECD, the main obstacles to the development of skills are the lack of time and the difficult location or timing of the implementation of education.

Based on the feedback, the respondents were quite satisfied with the content of the education and the way it was implemented was at an excellent level. 42.8 % of participants participated in the study, which can be considered as a sufficiently representative response rate. When reading the feedback, it should be noted that people who were more positive and motivated about the education were likely to participate in the response. 

Project from the perspective of 3UAS

The project was worked on through joint development between organizations and partners. Co-development has been a big step in the field of co-operation and continuous learning, and the operators in the project will continue to co-operate. The project can be considered as a successful example of the 3UAS co-operation in regards to Laurea and Metropolia. 

The project’s sponsor also praised the transfer of information and the guarantee of the project’s continuity, for example through extensive reporting. In the future, HSIP’s will serve as tools and keys to the growth of companies in European cities, enabling them to create jobs and promote social participation in the labor market.

Project participants were asked to present urban development at a global conference on 10.3.2022 during OECD weeks. The theme of the conference was local skills, especially from the perspective of continuous learning and adult education – the importance of diverse co-operation on these topics was highlighted.

More information: 

Continuous learning in companies (available with subtitles)

Project publications 

Could an application help the competence development of the worker?

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