Page updated 14.1.2019

Foreign IT students to relieve shortage of professionals in Southwest Finland

The positive structural change taking place in Southwest Finland has highlighted the shortage of professionals in the field of engineering. To remedy the situation, the ICT unit of Turku University of Applied Sciences in Salo starts to educate engineers specializing in the Internet of Things (IoT) and cybersecurity.

The effects of the positive structural change begin to materialize in Southwest Finland. The employment in the area has increased to record levels, with not enough workforce for the needs of industry. The shortage of engineering professionals in particular is crying. Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) has actively worked for relieving the situation. The latest of the measures TUAS has taken is the engineering degree programme in the Internet of Things and cybersecurity that will begin in early spring 2019. 

“This is a pilot with the objective of extending it as soon as possible. The aim is to educate more engineering experts on a long-term basis for the needs of regional industries”, says Rector and President at TUAS Vesa Taatila

“Salo IoT Campus offers excellent possibilities for developing into a hub of competence where international degree students in the field of engineering are educated”, states also Peter Vesterbacka, Edunation adviser.

Finnish higher education is appreciated abroad

The pilot group that is beginning their studies consists of nearly 30 students. They have been recruited from abroad to degree education subject to charge. Majority of the students come from Asia, where the high quality of the Finnish education is highly appreciated. 

Students are brought to Salo by Edunation, a cooperation partner of TUAS. The company promotes the Finnish education export and aims to increase the brand recognition of the Finnish education abroad.  Peter Vesterbacka, adviser of Edunation, believes that Finland may receive as many as over 150 000 foreign students in the next few years.

“Globally, student mobility involves approximately 100 billion dollar business and the volume is in the increase. The figures from India alone are huge: for instance, approximately 100 000 students from India are studying in Canada. If we compare our situation to that of our competitors, the potential of Finland as a country for degree education is nearly untapped”, Vesterbacka says. 

Salo IoT Campus to become a hub of engineering competence

The degree programme that is about to start will focus on the Internet of Things and cybersecurity. The subject is extremely timely as along with digitalization, all operations and processes of society are vulnerable without an adequate level of competence in cybersecurity. Other fields of engineering, however, also need more future experts. 

“Potential new operations may be, for example, offering education in game and interactive technologies or business information systems”, says Head of Education and Research at TUAS Tero Reunanen

The goal is that in future, there are over thousand fee-paying engineering students from abroad studying at Salo IoT Campus. The majority of them are hoped to be employed in the area after their graduation and to support the growth and competitiveness of Southwest Finland with their expertise. A cybersecurity lab is currently under construction in the campus area. The lab will serve the needs of both education and research as well as companies. 

“The intention is to have the students quickly involved with the activities of the businesses and communities operating on Salo IoT Campus and elsewhere in Salo, as new work, innovations and entrepreneurship are generated through collaboration between different actors”, says Lauri Inna, Mayor of the City of Salo.