The SAK trade union movement offers a wide range of training opportunities.
Trade union training provides insight into the world of work, new interaction skills, computer literacy and much more besides. The range of training is very broad, with hundreds of regular courses.
SAK and its affiliates arrange special training services and courses to help shop stewards and other elected representatives discharge their functions. Online learning opportunities are also available.
The Online Workers College is a portal service for all online courses arranged within the SAK trade union movement. Besides educational services for shop stewards and elected officials, the portal includes general vocational training courses on such topics as corporate communications, online content creation and general computer literacy.
The Online Workers College also includes a course module on working in Finland designed for immigrants. This material covers terms and conditions of employment in Finland, labour protection, health and safety, labour market organisations, general workplace custom and practice in Finland, and Finnish communications. The module is intended for private study.
Worker education counsellors are also now being appointed in the trade union movement to advise employees on adult education opportunities, to encourage them to enrol in various forms of vocational training, and to lobby for better staff training at workplaces.
Some 50,000 members annually take part in training arranged by SAK and its affiliates. Course fees are low, and some courses are entirely free of charge. The trade unions arrange training for members in association with the Workers’ Educational Association (TSL) and the KSL Civic Association for Adult Learning.
Workplace effectiveness training for union members
The educational opportunities arranged for members by trade unions include courses on the world of work, foreign languages and information technology, interaction and interpersonal skills, leisure pursuits and international issues. Further details of these opportunities may be found on trade union websites.
Members of trade unions affiliated to SAK are eligible for courses arranged by the Workers’ Educational Association (TSL) and the KSL Civic Association for Adult Learning, and courses are also specially designed for union members at Kiljava Institute, maintained by the SAK educational foundation. The Kiljava summer courses are especially popular.
Training for elected officials
SAK and its affiliated trade unions provide activist training at four educational institutes. SAK has its own community college at Kiljava Institute, while two affiliated trade unions also have institutes of their own. The Finnish Industrial Union maintains Murikka Institute and the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) maintains JHL Institute. The courses at these centres are mainly designed for shop stewards, labour protection delegates and other union activists.
Kiljava Institute caters in particular for the introductory and special training needs of activists in trade unions with no training institute of their own, but its longer training courses are also popular with activists from all SAK-affiliated unions.
Vocational higher education
HUMAK University of Applied Sciences provides a degree programme in civic action and youth work at Kiljava Institute. This programme qualifies graduates to work in a guiding, educational, co-ordinating and supervisory capacity in the fields of civic action and youth work in various Finnish and international contexts, with an optional specialisation in the world of work and the trade union movement. HUMAK also provides educational programmes through the Open Studies scheme.
Union staff training
Training for the staff of SAK and its affiliated trade unions is provided through the SAK Development Centre, a special training unit attached to Kiljava Institute that arranges vocational skills training at the Institute, and in Helsinki and elsewhere as required.