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My Oulu: OSAO increases options for English-language studies – new tourism and catering programs available

4.6.2022

English-speaking people will have two new vocational study options in Oulu in the autumn. Educational consortium OSAO will take applications for English-language business and administration, catering and tourism programs until August.

There have been concerns about the scarcity of English-language study programs in Oulu. Secondary education in English has only been available at the IB upper secondary school and in OSAO’s business and administration training. If you’re not interested in those, your options have been limited.

Now OSAO’s English-language portfolio is expanding with two new programs. The service sector unit in Kaukovainio is looking forward to new groups starting in the autumn.

"The Ministry of Education and Culture granted us permission to organize the vocational study programs in tourism and catering in English at the beginning of the year. Application window for programs is now open and new groups will start in the autumn", says Tiina Karvonen, head of division.

There has been plenty of interest in the new programs, which also indicates the need for English-language studies.

“We have already received applications from southern Finland and outside the EU. Our training programs are open to EU citizens, but people from outside the EU can have a study place only for special reasons such as family ties. I believe we will also receive many applications from the Oulu region, as soon as information about these programs reaches potential applicants", Karvonen says.

Programs also suitable for adult students

Approximately 20 new students will be admitted to each of the English-language programs. 

“The study programs are not only meant for young people leaving basic education level, but also for adult students or people changing careers. The programs are also suitable for native Finnish-speakers who want to study in English and thus be better prepared, for example, to work abroad", says Jaana Hilli, head of division.

English-language training also includes Finnish-language studies, so students' language skills and capability for working here in Finland will improve during the training.

Applicants will be required to have good verbal and written skills in English as well as basics of the Finnish language.

“The courses are also suitable for those whose language skills are not good enough for Finnish-language training programs. English-language training also includes Finnish-language studies, so students' language skills and capability for working here in Finland will improve during the training", Hilli adds.

Support from the business sector necessary

In Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture regulates what kind of programs schools can offer in different parts of the country. Until now, permission had not been granted for training programs in English, even though they had been applied for. Support from the local business community for the new training programs was necessary.

"When applying for a teaching license, the application must be accompanied by statements from representatives of industry and commerce. OSAO's application to the Ministry of Education and Culture was supported by statements from Arina, Chamber of Commerce, Travel Marketing unit of Oulu and the Council of Oulu Region. Our region desperately needs more labour and all resources must be mobilised to fill the labour shortage in the tourism and hospitality sector", says Hilli.

The new training programs do not require special preparation from teachers at the OSAO Kaukovainio service sector unit.

"We have been offering training programs in tourism and catering for a long time and the teachers have good English skills, so we are ready to launch new courses", says Hilli.

Applications for all English-language programs will be open until 19 August, with courses starting on September 5th for the business and administration qualifications and October 3rd for catering and tourism.

Further information about the training programs and instructions for applying can be found here.
OSAO will have a new tourism study program in English. Picture: OSAO

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