Initial assessment, integration plan and integration training
The initial assessment will determine which services will help you to get integrated. This initial assessment examines, for example, your education, work experience and language skills. The initial assessment is carried out at the TE office or municipality. It can also be done in another place, such as an educational institution. This depends on which municipality you live in. You can request an initial assessment, for example, from the social services of your municipality or from the TE Office. Read more about the initial assessment here: https://tyomarkkinatori.fi/en/personal-customer/internationality/services-and-integration-plan-for-immigrants
If you need support for integration, you can be provided with an integration plan after the initial assessment. The plan may include, for example, studying the Finnish language, other studies or a workplace trial period.
An integration plan must be drawn up no later than three years after you have been granted your residence permit, or when your right of residence has been registered. The duration of the integration plan depends on how long you need support for integration. The integration plan is usually valid for a maximum of three years. In some special cases, it may be valid for five years. Once you have had an integration plan drawn up, it is also important that you follow it through. Read more about the integration plan here: https://tyomarkkinatori.fi/en/personal-customer/internationality/services-and-integration-plan-for-immigrants
When the integration plan is in place, you can then receive integration training. Integration training is organised by municipalities, employment and economic development (TE) offices and many educational institutions. The TE-Office or the municipality will direct you towards integration training. Integration training usually includes studying Finnish or Swedish. As part of the training programme, you will also get familiar with Finnish society, culture and working life. Read more about integration training here: https://www.te-palvelut.fi/jobseekers/support-finding-job/integration-services-for-immigrants/assessment-integration-plan
You can access integration training programmes only via the TE office.
Finnish language learning
Finnish language training is organised by many different educational institutions and bodies in the Lahti Region. You can easily search for Finnish language courses through the Alipi portal called Ossi. The OSSI portal provides information on various training programmes, courses and events organised in the Lahti region for immigrants. See here: www.alipi.fi/ossi
You can also get information from the homepages of the different schools themselves:
Salpaus Further Education: www.salpaus.fi and https://en.salpaus.fi/home/finnish-culture-language-training/
Lahti kansanopisto: www.lahdenkansanopisto.fi,
Harjula kansalaisopisto: www.harjulansetlementti.fi,
Päijät-Häme Summer University: https://www.paijathameenkesayliopisto.fi/
Jyränkölä setlementti: https://jyrankola.fi/
Please note that you can also study and practice Finnish in free discussion groups, clubs and online. Finnish language discussion groups and clubs are organised by the Lahti Academic Women - Read Together network, Multi-Culti and by Lahti parish. See current information on the websites of these organisations: http://www.lahdenakateemisetnaiset.net/luetaan-yhdessa
Lahti parishes: https://www.lahdenseurakunnat.fi/launeen-seurakunta/kerhot-ja-ryhmat/maahanmuuttajat,
Pentecostal Church: https://lahdenhelluntaisrk.fi/toimintaa/kansainvalinen-tyo/
You can study the Finnish language on-line, for example using the following websites:
Yle - Supisuomea
Basic education for immigrants subject to compulsory education
Immigrants of compulsory school age living in Finland, as well as asylum seekers have the right to the same basic education as Finns. In some municipalities, a person of compulsory school age can participate in one preparatory academic year for basic education. In the groups of preparatory education, the Finnish language and the main concepts of other subjects are studied. When a pupil has sufficient language skills, he or she can move on to a class suited to his or her age and skill level. You will receive information about possible preparatory training from your municipality. The compulsory education school attending age was increased to 18 years on August 1st 2021
Studyinfo: Basic education for immigrants
The early stage of basic education studies for immigrants
The contents of the initial basic education studies for adults correspond to those in primary schools, that is, basic education for grades 1-6. If you have previously studied, for example: in immigrant integration training, in education for illiterate immigrants and / or pre-primary education, but you are not yet ready for basic education, you can proceed first to early stage adult education. In the initial studies of basic education for adult you will be able to get the knowledge and skills needed so that you can continue your studies in the actual basic education programme for adults, or in some other education programme. In basic education for adults, you can also complete compulsory education.
Studyinfo: Basic education for immigrants
Basic education for adults
Basic education for adults corresponds to studies in grades 7-9 of basic education, and provides eligibility for them to apply for general upper secondary education or vocational education and training. An individual study plan is made for each student, taking into account their previous studies or knowledge and skills acquired in another way. The studies last about 2 years in total.
Studyinfo: Basic education for immigrants
Reading and writing education
Literacy training for immigrant adults is organised as part of basic adult education, carried out as free educational work and as part of the integration training organised as part of labour force training.
Literacy training is suited to those immigrant adults who cannot read or write in their own mother tongue, or who do not know the letters of the Finnish language. You can find the educational institutions offering literacy education in Lahti and elsewhere in Päijät-Häme at: http://www.alipi.fi/ossi/ under the section ”ABC- Luku- ja kirjoitustaito”.(Literacy skills)
Vocational Education and Training
You can complete vocational education and training after basic education. Studying for a vocational upper secondary qualification qualifies you for the profession, but you can also continue your studies at a university or a university of applied sciences, for example. Salpaus Further Education offers vocational training for immigrants in many different fields in Päijät-Häme Region. More information can be found on the Ossi portal: http://www.alipi.fi/ossi/ under “vocational training for immigrants”. Vocational training is applied for either through a joint application procedure and / or on a continuous application basis. Read more about different vocational training opportunities and applying for them on the Opintopolku website: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/valintojen-tuki/education-for-immigrants/vocational-education-for-immigrants/
Through apprenticeship training you can complete a vocational degree. You can study and do work for which you get paid at the same time. You complete most of your studies at the workplace. You will be given a personal study programme that explains the content and duration of your studies. The employer pays the student a salary in accordance with what is called the collective bargaining agreement. If the apprentice is unemployed, the employer can apply for a wage subsidy from the TE Office. The organisers of apprenticeship training help and give advice in matters related to apprenticeship training. Organisers of apprenticeship training (opintopolku.fi).
You can search for apprenticeships advertised by employers under job vacancies using the keyword "oppisopimus" (apprenticeship). Read more about apprenticeship training on the Study Path website: https://opintopolku.fi/wp/oppisopimus/
You can apply to a university of applied sciences after completing a vocational degree or the high school syllabus and / or a matriculation examination. You can get acquainted with the courses at Lahti and Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, now combined under the new name LAB University of Applied Sciences, https://lab.fi/en/. Read about university of applied sciences studies and about applying for them: https://opintopolku.fi/wp/valintojen-tuki/maahanmuuttajien-koulutus/korkeakoulutus-maahanmuuttajille/
You can apply for university education once you have completed a vocational degree or the upper secondary school syllabus and graduated from there. You can get acquainted with the bachelor’s- and master’s degree programmes of Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, i.e. LUT, at: https://www.lut.fi/web/en/. Read more about university education and applications: https://opintopolku.fi/wp/valintojen-tuki/maahanmuuttajien-koulutus/korkeakoulutus-maahanmuuttajille/
You can also apply to a university of applied sciences or a university if you have a foreign education of a level which would give you the right to apply for similar university studies in your home country.
There is also English language higher education available in Finland: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/
It is always worth checking the description of the training for the exact eligibility requirements. The university will decide whether to accept you as a student or not: www.opintopolku.fi
Preparatory education and training
Tutkintokoulutukseen valmentava koulutus (TUVA)
If you wish to better your chances at participating in vocational or upper secondary studies, you can apply for the TUVA-course. In this course one must have basic Finnish skills as the whole syllabus is carried out in Finnish. If you've completed your basic education or a basic education equivalent, you can apply for the course. One can be taken in as a student outside of these conditions if the establishment sees that they meet the requirements to complete the studies.
The course is 38 weeks long and the objective time is one year max. The student can participate for a shorter period according to their own goals and abilities and move on to degree-focused studies flexibly.
TUVA-courses in Lahti and Heinola are held by Further Education Salpaus (Finnish): https://www.salpaus.fi/koulutusesittely/tuva-koulutus/
TUVA-courses for upper secondary education are held by Lahden yhteiskoulun aikuislukio (Finnish): https://www.lyk.fi/aikuislukio/maahanmuuttajat/
Foreign language speaking students can apply for TUVA-courses for upper secondary education if they have completed their basic education or its equivalent, but their Finnish skills aren't sufficient to start upper secondary studies.
Preparative training for university studies:
In this training to prepare immigrants for university studies, you study the Finnish language and improve your chances of completing a Finnish university degree.
After the preparatory education, you will not be admitted directly to the university as a degree student, but will need to apply as a student through a normal application, e.g. in the joint application process.
In education, you will develop language and study skills that improve your opportunities to succeed. https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/valintojen-tuki/education-for-immigrants/higher-education-for-immigrants/
Recognition of qualification papers
If you have completed your degree abroad, you may need a degree recognition decision in order to work or study in Finland. The employer, educational institution or university will assess the qualifications and competencies that your foreign degree has given you. You need a recognition decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education (OPH) or another authority if you want to work in a regulated profession or in a position that requires a university degree of a certain level. Read more on the Finnish National Agency for Education website about the recognition of degrees and how you can apply for the recognition of your degree: https://www.oph.fi/en/services/recognition-and-international-comparability-qualifications/recognition-foreign
In order to be able to work in Finland in social and health care positions, in addition to a degree, you need the right to practise, in other words the Protected Occupation Title granted by Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health. It is not possible to work in these positions without this registration in the profession.
If you have, for example, a doctor's or nurse's qualification in your home country, you always need to contact Valvira first: https://www.valvira.fi/sosiaalihuolto/sosiaalihuollon-ammattioikeudet/ulkomailla-tutkinnon-suorittaneet
Legalisation of veterinarian doctor qualifications is handled by the Finnish Food Authority: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/yritykset/elainlaakarit/oikeus-toimia-elainlaakarina/elainlaakariksi-laillistaminen/