25 years of Laurea: looking towards the future with an open mind

​This Friday on the 20th of May, Laurea University of Applied Sciences is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Helsinki. Laurea began in 1991 as Vantaa University of Applied Sciences, and this year marks the University of Applied Sciences’ 25th year.

Laurea University of Applied Sciences celebrated its 25th year by gathering its personnel and stakeholders to the Finlandia Hall on Friday the 20th of May for its 25th celebration. The 25th celebration was opened by the Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, who reminded everyone there about the central role that the universities of applied sciences play in the Finnish education system.

- When the university of applied sciences experiment began 25 years ago, we were as ready to try new things without hesitation then as we are now, noted Minister Grahn-Laasonen.
- At the moment, we have a good network of universities of applied sciences in Finland, whose influence is made obvious by their popularity and the employment rates of their graduates.

According to Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, a central part of the role that the universities of applied sciences play in Finland is their close collaboration with commerce. There is a great deal of significance in how well education serves the changing needs of working life.

- Our common goal is to build a future for our youth, Grahn-Laasonen concluded.
- Laurea is clearly doing the rights things with the right attitude.

“Finland needs problem solvers that can take initiative”

Laurea’s 25th celebration also included a speech from the Director General of the Finnish National Board of Education, Aulis Pitkälä, who was a key figure in the birth of Laurea back in the 90s, when he was the Deputy Mayor of Vantaa.

- In the 90s, we saw the need for vocational higher education that combined practicality, applied research and impactful collaboration with the region, described Aulis Pitkälä.
- Now the whole higher education sector is in the midst of great challenges and there is a special need for impactful action. Luckily, Laurea has been an active collaboration seeker and that's why we can expect great things from the collaboration between Laurea, Haaga-Helia and Metropolia, the three universities of applied sciences.

Risto E.J. Penttilä, CEO of the Finnish Chambers of Commerce, provided the business world’s perspective for the celebration. He began by noting that Finland, which will turn 100 next year, is in need of assistance. It will need diligence and new kinds of applied expertise.

- We have asked companies what sorts of employees they will need in the future, CEO Penttilä said.
- The answer is that they need problem solvers that can take initiative. That's the sort of people that the universities of applied sciences train.

Business life collaborations Laurea’s key measure for success in the future

At the moment of the 25th celebration, Laurea’s President, Executive Director Jouni Koski and Chairman of the Board Heikki Heinimäki look towards the future with confidence, but they also acknowledge the challenges in the changing operating environment.

- The strong development of the operations of Laurea University of Applied Sciences is supported by its open-minded personnel, who have strongly developed the pedagogy of the university of applied sciences together with working life, describes President Jouni Koski.

He sees the integration of the higher education institution together with working life as Laurea’s key measure for success in the future as well that will also help Laurea to serve the region. Technology renews societal interaction, but working together with students and the companies, municipalities and other communities in the region is still a part of Laurea’s core functions.

-  The higher education institution is becoming more and more international, but it is happening together with the region, Koski adds.

Chairman of the Board Heikki Heinimäki emphasises that it is important for Laurea to retain its dual model to developed both national and international working life.

- Society needs vocational higher education to meet the demands of improving competitiveness and well-being in the best possible way. The popularity of universities of applied sciences among applicants is excellent, and this presents a good starting point for providing and developing our education, Heinimäki says.

Modified 5/30/2016 10:34 AM