The Ministry of Education and Culture has awarded Salpaus the quality award in vocational education. In 2011, the theme of the competition was "Individual Learning Paths."
Organised annually, the awards examine the operations of the organisation as a whole.
"Salpaus Further Education has a solid financial standing, which enables it to develop its operations diversely and prepare for the future. The centre has wide appeal and a positive public image. Salpaus is an active and successful operator in national competition. The graduates' employment rate is very good," the ministry states in its award statement.
"Of course we were serious about taking part in the competition, but it's still a surprise. This was the first time the whole organisation of Salpaus Further Education has applied for the award," says Principal Marita Modenius.
Success underpinned by long-term focus on quality
Long-term focus on quality was one of the reasons why Salpaus was awarded the prize. Special mention was made of the pedagogic strategy which is designed to ensure consistent pedagogic activities across the organisation.
The 2011 competition theme, "Individual Learning Paths", has been a subject of a lot of attention at Salpaus Further Education. The staff's ability to recognise learning difficulties among young and mature students has been improved through additional training. In addition, attention has been paid to the development of a guidance-based approach among staff.
Education activities at Salpaus have been developed systematically, and common operating models have been sought for all educational programmes. Matters related to HR, finance and information management have been developed jointly with all partners of the Lahti Region Educational Consortium.
Learning environments and teaching methods have been developed with a workplace-led approach and to support individual learning paths. Cooperation with workplace organisations is extensive, and on-the-job learning is increasingly common. Mature students can acquire competence-based qualifications through personalised programmes, and operating models for study guidance have been developed for a number of years.
Best practices for other organisations
In the quality award competition, vocational institutes were assessed based on written applications and assessment visits. The final part of the competition process included a visit by stakeholder representatives to Salpaus Further Education in September.
During the visit, representatives of the management, teaching staff, students, workplaces and experts were interviewed. In addition, the assessment team examined documents, information systems, facilities and equipment. Six vocational institutes were visited by the competition jury.
Organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Board of Education, the quality award competition is aimed at supporting the development of vocational institutes and finding best practices for other organisations.
In addition, the competition promotes the recognition, appeal and social impact of vocational education. Focus areas are chosen annually to promote important themes of educational policy.