FITech’s Turku project ended – the level of learning and co-operation between universities increased
The FITech Network University’s first project, FITech Turku, reached its conclusion on 31 December 2022.
The goal of the FITech Turku project was to increase the number of highly educated experts in the field of technology in Southwest Finland.
During the project, both the level of learning and companies’ interest in co-operating with universities has increased. During the FITech Turku project period, it was observed that companies in the area employed approximately 20% more new Master of Science graduates than before the project started. While the attractiveness of industry and good employment opportunities have played a role, the additional training offered by FITech also supported the concentration of learning in the region.
“Thanks to the operational models built during the FITech Turku project, the teaching co-operation of the universities in the network has increased and diversified. The network has a good ability to respond to changing national competence needs”, says Petri Suomala, chair of the FITech Board.
The events, successes and lessons learned from FITech Turku’s five-year project period have now been compiled in the final report. Get to know the report here (PDF in Finnish).
FITech as a response to the skill shortage in Southwest Finland
The FITech network of Finnish universities in the field of technology and its first project began in 2017 in a situation where many industries in Southwest Finland were experiencing a boom, and the automotive and maritime industries in particular were growing strongly. In a positive structural change, there was a shortage of skilled higher education workforce, which already threatened the growth of many companies.
As a solution to the shortage of experts, FITech was established. In addition to universities, the founding members were the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries and the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK.
The network applied for funding for the FITech Turku project, which was launched at the end of 2017 after the Ministry of Education and Culture granted it 12 million euros of funding. The funding share of the member universities was 6 million euros, which means that FITech Turku’s total funding was 18 million euros.
609 courses and more than 20,200 course participants
One of the central measures of the project was opening the universities’ study offer to students other than those of their own university. FITech Turku offered especially degree students a flexible way to complete studies from other universities in the network. The students were also offered the opportunity to get to know the companies of the Southwest Finland region through various course assignments, visits and projects.
The courses offered by FITech Turku consisted of master’s degree programmes, minor studies and individual courses.
The courses offered included 19 minors with a total of 326 courses. In addition, 46 individual courses were offered during the project. These included summer schools, which were organised over five summers. During the project, a total of 359 students started in two master’s degree programmes organised by LUT University.
A total of 609 FITech funded courses were organised during the project period, and 20,209 course participants were recorded. On an annual basis, the number of participants increased throughout the project period.
Assisted by the co-operation created during the project, universities will draw up cross-institutional study agreements on minor studies in marine technology and materials science and engineering, for example, which makes it possible for degree students to complete studies at another university even after the end of the project period.
Master’s theses and workplaces commit experts to Southwest Finland
The activities of FITech Turku have emphasised measures aimed at supporting the attachment of students and recent graduates from outside Southwest Finland to the region. Concrete measures have included master’s thesis workshops and recruitment events, for example. This work has been carried out in close co-operation between universities and companies in the region.
Master’s theses have played a key role in directing learning to the region of Southwest Finland, as the majority of Master of Science graduates in technology work in the same place where they did their master’s thesis.
“Even though the number of master’s theses did not increase significantly from the initial situation, the investments are significant and positive effects can be seen even after the review period,” says Olli Manner, Chair of the FITech Turku executive group.
All in all, FITech universities carried out 690 master’s theses in the area.
Operations of the Network University continue
The FITech network will not end at the end of the FITech Turku project.
Of FITech’s continuous learning projects, ICT, 5G and Energy Storage will continue to operate until the end of 2023, and a possible extension period will be requested for some of them. In addition, a new FITech Hydrogen project was launched at the beginning of 2023, in which a 20–40 credit training module related to the hydrogen economy value chain will be implemented primarily for adult learners. Other new co-operation projects are also being prepared in the network.
Chair of the executive group of the FITech Turku project
Tel. +358 40 052 4843
Chief operating officer of FITech Network University
Tel. +358 50 511 3276