Vocational guidance and career planning available for everyone of working age


Whatever your situation in life, vocational guidance and career planning can help you consider different career options. The service will be tailored to your needs.

Vocational guidance and career planning is a statutory service available at all Finnish TE Offices. A similar service is also available through local government pilots on employment.

Vocational guidance and career planning help you to reflect on your education and career options and to clarify your plans at different stages of life.

‘We provide guidance to anyone of working age, that is between the ages of 18 and 65. In addition, guidance counsellors sometimes advise minors to use our services. We provide services for both those who have registered as jobseekers and those who are not currently using employment services’, says Eeva Tanskanen, a vocational guidance and career planning psychologist at the North Ostrobothnia TE Office.  

Help in different situations

You can participate in vocational guidance and career planning free of charge, and guidance is available for a wide range of situations.

‘Students who have graduated from upper secondary school but haven't been accepted to a higher education institution immediately after graduation are one of our client groups. Sometimes a young person may need our services immediately after comprehensive school to make their first career decisions. A large part of our client base consists of people who are changing careers. A person may, for instance, have completed an initial vocational qualification and found that the field is not suitable for them after all. We have a lot of customers aged 30 to 40 who already have work experience but want a change or want to advance in their career’, Eeva Tanskanen says.  

A career change may also become topical if a health problem or a problem that affects your ability to learn is hindering your work. Sometimes health problems are so extensive that a person may have spent a lot of time on sick leave and in rehabilitation or be on a disability pension. However, working or studying to some extent may still be an option.

‘People who have been on a long sick leave or family leave may feel that they don’t want to return to their current job. If, for example, it’s difficult to combine their current job with family life, they might want to find a new occupation that is better suited to their changed situation. On occasion, an employee’s workplace may have closed down during their absence.’

Career counselling psychologists also help people who have been made redundant or laid off and who are considering whether they should broaden their skill set or look for a new field. A field where employment is more likely may feel appealing in these situations.

Service need determined individually

During the first meeting, the vocational guidance and career planning psychologist determines what kind of situation the client is in and what kind of guidance they need.

‘Sometimes customers may have two options in mind, and they are wondering which one would be better for them. In such a situation, one meeting may suffice. However, discussions often continue over several meetings during which we provide more information on subjects such as different fields, occupations, education and training options, and the funding of studies. If a long time has passed since the client was a student, they may not be aware of their ability level. We may carry out various aptitude and personality tests to determine whether the client has learning difficulties or whether they would be able to study at a higher education institution. During the use of the service, clients may also explore a new field through a work try-out’, Eeva Tanskanen says.

People are not always aware of how their health may affect working in different occupations. Vocational guidance and career planning professionals will advise you to see a doctor or undergo a medical examination for the unemployed if they believe that a health-related problem should be looked at more closely. Once the client has a medical certificate, they may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation, or a pension provider or Kela may pay for their studies.

If you are interested in vocational guidance and career planning, check the website of your local TE Office or the local government pilot for instructions on how to access the service. If you are already using employment services, you can submit a request for vocational guidance and career planning to your personal coach or a specialist at your TE Office or local government pilot. Most TE Offices also have a telephone number or email address that can be used for submitting a request for guidance.

The only service open to all

At the beginning of 2025, the responsibility for organising employment services will be transferred to municipalities. Why would it be important to keep providing vocational guidance and career planning services after the transfer?

‘Although educational institutions, the rehabilitation sector and occupational health care provide guidance related to their activities, a service similar to vocational guidance and career planning, which is designed for everyone, is not currently available. If a person who is employed or on childcare leave needs guidance, there are hardly any other options’, Eeva Tanskanen says.

According to Tanskanen, the need for vocational guidance and career planning is clear since there is a constant demand for the service. At the national level, there are more people interested in the service than can be received.

‘It’s expensive for society if a person finds that they have chosen the wrong type of education and drop out mid-studies. It can also be a big personal disappointment. Especially in the case of young people, it may be difficult to motivate yourself to start studying again if you have already discontinued your studies several times. A young person may start to believe that they will not succeed however hard they try. It’s important to help people avoid such disappointments.’

In other words, the aim of the service is to prevent people from making the wrong choices and running up against failure, but also to encourage people on their path.

‘If a client hasn’t studied anything for a long time, they may think that they don’t have what it takes to study. By discussing the matter and carrying out tests, we can identify the client’s strengths and competences and help them understand that a 40- to 50-year-old can still learn a new profession or broaden their skill set.’

Vocational guidance and career planning services are provided at local service points or remotely. In addition to local guidance services, national career counselling is also available. This service is available to Finns living in Finland and abroad. The service is provided by telephone or video connection.

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