A holistic student-centred guidance framework supports Finnish vocational education and training students in building competence identity


  • Anu Raudasoja Järviseutu Vocational Institute, Finland
  • Soili Rinne Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9907-4760
  • Sanna Heino Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland




holistic guidance, initial vocational qualifications, competence identity, guidance framework, student-oriented guidance


This study deals with competence-based and student-centered Finnish initial vocational education and training (IVET). The main research question is how holistic guidance supports the building of the student’s competence identity in Finnish IVET. The holistic guidance in competence- and work-based vocational education and training is formally implemented when a personal competence development plan (PCDP) is drawn up for each student and informally in various interaction situations in studies, work, and leisure time. The guidance actors supported student’s personal growth, guided learning and provided career guidance. For this study, interviews were carried out with IVET students (n=15) and IVET teachers (n=29). The analysis carried out combined data-based and abductive qualitative content analysis methods. In the analysis results, the different guidance actors were organised into the following five levels of guidance: 1) IVET teachers, tutors, and workplace instructors, 2) IVET study counsellors and special needs teachers, 3) student welfare personnel, 4) leisure time actors and hobby instructors, and 5) employment specialists. Based on the results, a framework was designed for holistic student-centred guidance in Finnish IVET. This framework describes how active student agency and multidisciplinary guidance work can support the building and updating of the student’s competence identity. This study revealed that guidance processes are complex and highlights that many actors are, not only guidance specialists, needed to fulfil the task.


Ahlgren, L., & Tett, L. (2010). Work-based learning, identity, and organisational culture. Studies in Continuing Education, 32(1), 17–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/01580370903534280

Akkerman, S., & Bruining, T. (2016). Multilevel boundary crossing in a professional development school partnership. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(2), 240–284. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2016.1147448

Ala-Krekola-Suni, A. (2012). Yksin puurtamisesta kohti vertaistukea ja moniasiantuntijuutta [Equality, self-esteem and support together: A multi-professional guidance model for special support for questions related to difficulties in reading in Mynämäki upper secondary school]. University of Jyväskylä, Department of Teacher Education, Guidance and Counselling Education and Research Unit. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-201210142675

Bakke, I. B., Haug, E. H., & Hooley, T. (2018). Moving from information provision to co-careering: Integrated guidance as a new approach to e-guidance in Norway. Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, 41(1), 48–55. https://doi.org/10.20856/jnicec.4108

Bergmo-Prvulovic, I. (2015). Social representations of career and career guidance in the changing world of working life [Doctoral dissertation, Jönköping University, School of Education and communication].

Bergmo-Prvulovic, I. (2022). Vägledning som stöd för lärande under hela livet [Guidance supporting learning throughout life]. In C. Bjursell, & M. Malec Rawiński (Eds.), Äldres lärande: Utblickar och insikter [Elderly people learning: Perspectives and insights] (pp. 255¬–274). Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.

Cedefop. (2019a). European cooperation in VET – One process, many stops: Developments in vocational education and training policy 2015–17. Publications Office of the European Union. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/4550

Cedefop. (2019b). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 7, VET from a lifelong learning perspective: Continuing VET concepts, providers and participants in Europe 1995–2015. Publications Office of the European Union. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2801/357

Christiansen, C. H. (1999). Defining lives – Occupation as identity: An essay on competence, coherence, and the creation of meaning. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53(6), 547–558. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.53.6.547

Colley, H., James, D., Diment, K., & Tedder, M. (2003). Learning as becoming in vocational education and training: Class, gender and the role of vocational habitus. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 55(4), 471–498. https://doi.org/10.1080/13636820300200240

Dey, F., & Cruzvergara, C. Y. (2014). Evolution of career services in higher education. New Directions for Student Services, (148), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ss.20105

European Commission. (2020). Lifelong guidance policy and practice in the EU – Trends, challenges and opportunities: Final report. Publications Office of the European Union, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion., Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick., & Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä. https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2767/91185

European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network. (2016). Suuntaviivoja elinikäisen ohjauksen toimintapolitiikalle ja palvelujärjestelyille: Yhteiset tavoitteet ja periaatteet EU:n jäsenmaille ja komissiolle [Guidelines for policies and systems development for lifelong guidance: A reference framework for the EU and for the commission]. Jyväskylän yliopisto, koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos. http://www.elgpn.eu/publications/browse-by-language/finnish/suuntaviivoja-elinikaisen-ohjauksen-toimintapolitiikalle-ja-palvelujarjestelyille-yhteiset-tavoitteet-ja-periaatteet-eu-n-jasenmaille-ja-komissiolle

European Union. (2020). Council recommendation of 24 November 2020 on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience (2020/C 417/01).

Ferm, L. (2021). Vocational students’ ways of handling the academic/vocational divide. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 8(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.13152/IJRVET.8.1.1

Finlex Data Bank. (2017). Government decree on upper secondary education and training (673/2017). https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673

Geurts, J., & Meijers, F. (2009). Vocational education in the Netherlands: In search of a new identity. In R. Maclean, & D. Wilson (Eds.), International handbook of education for the changing world of work: Bridging academic and vocational learning (pp. 483–497). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5281-1_32

Goman, J., Hievanen, R., Kiesi, J., Huhtanen, M., Vuojus, T., Eskola, S., Karvonen, S., Kullas-Norrgård, K., Lahtinen, T., Majanen, A., & Ristolainen, J. (2021). Erityinen tuki voimavaraksi: Arviointi ammatillisen koulutuksen erityisestä tuesta [Special Needs support as a resource: Evaluation of the provision of special needs support in vocational education and training]. https://www.karvi.fi/sites/default/files/documents/KARVI_1721.pdf

Gonsalves, C., & Zaidi, Z. (2016). Hands in medicine: Understanding the impact of competency-based education on the formation of medical students’ identities in the United States. Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions, 13, 31. https://doi.org/10.3352/jeehp.2016.13.31

Hegna, K. (2019). Learner identities in vocational education and training: From school to apprenticeship. Journal of Education and Work, 32(1), 52–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2019.1593330

Helander, J., Pukkila, P., Lilja, T., Koskela, S., Leppänen, A., & Mäkinen, S. (2020). Valtakunnalliset suositukset ohjaamojen monialaisen uraohjauksen laadunvarmistukseen [Recommendations for transdisciplinary career guidance provided by one-Stop guidance centers] (HAMK e-publications 2/2020). Häme University of Applied Sciences. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-784-823-7

Herranen, J., & Penttinen, L. (2008). Aikuisoppijalähtöistä ohjausta etsimässä [In search of learner-centred guidance for adults]. In M. Lätti, & P. Putkuri (Eds.), Ohjaus on kuin tekisi palapeliä: Näkökulmia aikuisopiskelijan ohjaukseen ammattikorkeakoulussa [Guidance work is like doing a jigsaw: Perspectives on guidance on adult students in a university of applied science] (pp. 9–24) (C: reports no. 32). North Karelia University of Applied Sciences. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-604-087-8

Hirsjärvi, S., Remes, P., & Sajavaara, P. (2004). Tutki ja kirjoita [Research and write]. Gummerrus.

Isoherranen, K. (2006). Moniammatillinen yhteistyö [Multiprofessional coopera-tion]. WSOY.

Isoherranen, K. (2012). Uhka vai mahdollisuus: Moniammatillista yhteistyötä kehittämässä [Threat or possibility: Developing interprofessional collaboration] (Publications of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki 2012:18) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki]. Unigrafia. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7664-0

Jarvis-Selinger, S., Pratt, D. D., & Regehr, G. (2012). Competency is not enough: Integrating identity formation into the medical education discourse. Academic Medicine, 87(9), 1185–1190. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182604968

Karusaari, R. (2020). Asiakaslähtöisyys osaamisperusteisessa ammatillisessa koulutuksessa [Customer orientation in competence-based vocational education] (Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis, 273) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Lapland].

Kettunen, J. (2017). Career practitioners’ conceptions of social media and competency for social media in career services (Finnish Institute for Educational Research, Studies, 32) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyväskylä]. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7160-1

Kettunen, J., Lee, J., & Vuorinen, R. (2020). Exploring Finnish guidance counselors’ conceptions of career management skills. SAGE Open, 10(4), 215824402096877. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244020968778

Klotz, V. K., Billett, S., & Winther, E. (2014). Promoting workforce excellence: Formation and relevance of vocational identity for vocational educational training. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training, 6, Article 6. http://www.ervet-journal.com/content/6/1/6

Korhonen, V., & Nieminen, J. (2010). Nuorten ohjauksen kentät ja monialaisen yhteistyön mahdollisuudet [Fields of youth guidance and possibilities for transdisciplinary cooperation]. Nuorisotutkimus [Journal of Youth Research], 28(3), 3–17.

Koskela, S., & Rantanen, J. (2020). Erityinen tuki ammatillisen koulutuksen opinto-ohjaajan työssä [Special support in the work of a vocational education study counsellor]. In L. Kaikkonen (Ed.), Erityisopettajat ammatillisessa koulutuksessa: Tutkimus työn muutoksista [Special needs teachers in vocational education and training. A study of the changing nature of the work] (pp. 116–124) (Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulun julkaisuja [Publications of Jamk University of Applied Sciences] 294). http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-830-593-7

Kylmä, J., & Juvakka, T. (2007). Laadullinen terveystutkimus [Qualitative health research]. Edita Prima Oy.

Magee, M., Kuijpers, M., & Runhaar, P. (2022). How vocational education teachers and managers make sense of career guidance. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 50(2), 273–289. https://doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2021.1948970

McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling (5th ed.). Open University Press.

Musset, P., & Kurekova, L. M. (2018). Working it out: Career guidance and employer engagement (OECD Education Working Papers, No. 175). OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/51c9d18d-en

Onnismaa, J. (2007). Ohjaus- ja neuvontatyö: Aikaa, huomiota ja kunnioitusta [Guidance and counselling work: Time, attention and respect]. Gaudeamus.

Raudasoja, A., Heino, S., & Rinne, S. (2019). Osaamisidentiteetin rakentuminen ammatillisessa koulutuksessa [VET students’ competences are developing towards a new competence identity]. HAMK Unlimited Journal. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2020111690407

Raudasoja, A., Heino, S., & Rinne, S. (2021). Ohjauksella rakennetaan kestävää tulevaisuutta [Guidance builds sustainable future] HAMK Unlimited Journal. https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe202103197851

Rodgers, C. R., & Scott, K. H. (2008). The development of the personal self and professional identity in learning to teach. In M. Cochran-Smith, S. Feiman-Nemser, D. J. McIntyre, & K. E. Demers (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education: Enduring questions in changing contexts (3rd ed.) (pp. 732–755). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group/Association of Teacher Educators.

Ropo, E. (2015). Identiteetti tutkimuskohteena [Identity as a research subject]. In E. Ropo, E. Sormunen, & J. Heinström (Eds.), Identiteetistä informaatio-lukutaitoon: Tavoitteena itsenäinen ja yhteisöllinen oppija [From identity to information literacy: The goal is an independent and communal learner] (pp. 26–47). Tampere University Press. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-44-9920-3

Räisänen, A., & Goman, J. (2018). Ammatillisen koulutuksen osaamisperustaisuus, asiakaslähtöisyys ja toiminnan tehokkuus: Politiikkatoimien vaikutusten arviointi [Competence-based, customer-oriented and efficient vocational education and training: Evaluating the impacts of policy measures] (Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminnan julkaisusarja [Publications of the Government´s analysis, assessment and research activities] 86/2017). Valtioneuvoston kanslia.

Savickas, M. L., Nota, L., Rossier, J., Dauwalder, J.-P., Duarte, M. E., Guichard, J., Soresi, S., Van Esbroeck, R., & van Vianen, A. E. M. (2009). Life designing: A paradigm for career building in the 21st century. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75(3), 239–250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2009.04.004

Silverman, D. (1993). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction. SAGE Publications.

Tuomela, A., Nurmivuori, A., & Harmoinen, S. (2020). Tapaustutkimus omaopettajaohjauksen tarpeista osana holistisen ohjausmallin mukaista ohjausverkostoa korkeakoulussa [Case study of needs for tutor teacher’s guidance as part of a holistic guidance system in higher education]. Yliopistopedagogiikka [Journal of University Pedagogy], 27(1). https://lehti.yliopistopedagogiikka.fi/2020/05/07/omaopettajaohjaus-korkeakoulussa/

Tuomi, J., & Sarajärvi, A. (2002). Laadullinen tutkimus ja sisällönanalyysi [Qualitative research and content analysis]. Tammi.

Vanhalakka-Ruoho, M. (2014). Aikuisten opiskelu, työ ja elämässä suunnanotto ohjauksen ja neuvonnan mahdollisuutena [Adults’ study, work and life orientation as an opportunity for guidance and counselling]. In A. Heikkinen, & E. Kallio (Eds.), Aikuisten kasvu ja aktivointi: Suomalaisen aikuiskasvatuksen kentät ja kerrostumat [Growth and activation of adults: The various fields and layers of Finnish adult education] (pp. 32–70). Tampere University Press. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-44-9687-5

Vanhalakka-Ruoho, M. (2015). Toimijuus ja suunnanotto elämässä [Agency and direction in life]. In P. A. Kauppila, J. Silvonen, & M. Vanhalakka-Ruoho (Eds.), Toimijuus, ohjaus ja elämänkulku [Agency, guidance and the life journey] (pp. 39–54) (Reports and Studies in Education, Humanities, and Theology 11). University of Eastern Finland. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-61-1747-8

Vehviläinen, S. (2014). Ohjaustyön opas: Yhteistyössä kohti toimijuutta [A handbook for guidance work: Strengthening agency together]. Gaudeamus.

Virkkala, S. (2020). Yhteisöpedagogiksi tulemisen tarinat: Narratiivinen tutkimus pedagogisen osaamisen ja ammatillisen identiteetin rakentumisesta yhteisöpedagogiopintojen aikana [Stories of becoming a community educator: Narrative inquiry into the building of pedagogical knowledge and professional identity in community educator training] (JYU dissertations 281) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyväskylä]. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8286-7

Vuorinen, R. (2017). Developing national career and workforce development systems and policies with structured international co-operation: Structures, processes and activities of the European lifelong guidance policy network. In V. S. H. Solberg, & S. R. Ali (Eds.), The handbook of career and workforce development: Research, practice, and policy (pp. 76–94). Routledge.

Watts, A. G., Guichard, J., Plant, P., & Rodriguez, M.-L. (1994). Educational and vocational guidance in the European Community. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

Watts, A. G., & Van Esbroeck, R. (1998). New skills for new futures: Higher education guidance and counselling services in the European Union. VUB Press.

Watts, A. G., & Van Esbroeck, R. (2000). New skills for new futures: A comparative review of higher education guidance and counselling services in the European Union. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 22, 173–187.




How to Cite

Raudasoja, A., Rinne, S., & Heino, S. (2024). A holistic student-centred guidance framework supports Finnish vocational education and training students in building competence identity. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 14(1), 53–78. https://doi.org/10.3384/njvet.2242-458X.2414153



Peer-reviewed research articles