On 25-27 September, StartNet organised its 5th European meeting, this time hosted by the education division of the City of Turku in Southwest Finland. Partners from Austria (Jugendnetzwerk Arbeiterkammer Oberösterreich), France (Apprentis d’Auteuil), Finland (City of Turku), Germany (RuhrFutur and City of Mannheim), Italy (Aliseo Liguria and StartNet Italy), Romania (Scoala de Valori) and Slovakia (EPIC) got together to discover the Finnish education and training system and jointly work on EU-funding opportunities.

In Turku, young people’s #TransitionToWork is supported by highly individualised guidance and competence-based training. Our partners were “impressed to experience an education system that doesn’t count hours young people spent in it, but the skills they acquire”. Among others, StartNet visited together with initiatives from the Union of the Baltic Cities a training machine factory and the steam ship s/s Bore, where students with their teachers run a hostel and a restaurant. 50% of youth in Turku are opting for apprenticeships or vocational education. Considering the constantly high demand for skilled workers in the region, the sector wants to reach even higher numbers. Specific programmes also target newly arrived refugees and immigrants.

Finally, the StartNet partners put their heads together for a workshop on funding, developing ideas on concrete EU-projects for the future. Participants’ conclusion was that “Turku might be a cold city, but with a warm heart for education”. Everyone was very pleased with the trustful and cooperative network that grew together over the past 2 years, looking forward to the cooperation ahead. “StartNet feels like home – the journey should continue!”