The competence of future media assistants excellent – considerable differences in working life relevance between education providers


The most common grade awarded for the vocational skills demonstrations in audio-visual communication was “excellent”. There is still a long way to go before the objectives set in the VET reform are met as only just under one third of the skills demonstrations were arranged in workplaces. The learning outcomes in audio-visual communication were evaluated for the first time.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has evaluated the learning outcomes of the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication. In the evaluation, the students who had started studying for the vocational qualification in autumn 2013 were monitored until spring 2016. The evaluation data was obtained from the grades given for vocational skills demonstrations and from supplementary data describing the arrangement of such demonstrations. The evaluation comprised a total of 23 providers of vocational education and training (VET) and more than 500 students. The results of the evaluation were published on 27 March 2018.

Vocational competence excellent – students did better in mastering knowledge than in mastering work processes

About three fifths of the students (60%) were awarded the grade “excellent” for the demonstration part of the qualification, 34% of the students the grade “good” and 6% the grade “satisfactory”. The most common grade in all competence areas was “excellent”.

The greatest number of “excellent” grades were awarded for the key competences for lifelong learning, whereas the greatest number of “satisfactory” grades were awarded for mastering the work process. The greatest proportion of “good” grades was awarded for mastering the knowledge forming the basis of the work. The average of final grades awarded for the skills demonstrations was 2.54 on a scale of 1-3.

The data contained more or less equal numbers of grades from skills demonstrations performed by female and male students. Across the board, the averages of grades awarded to women were better than the averages of grades awarded to men. Differences were also found in the grades awarded between VET providers.

Special needs students acquire their vocational skills according to the same criteria as other students as almost all special needs students performed the skills demonstrations without modified learning outcomes. Special needs students performed approximately the same number of demonstrations at educational institutions as other students, but the number of demonstrations performed in workplaces was higher. All in all, based on the grades, the level of competence of special needs students can be considered good.

Skills demonstrations are performed, for example, in educational institutions, advertising agencies, TV channels and radio stations, editorial offices of newspapers and production companies.

So far only one third of skills demonstrations performed in workplaces

At the beginning of this year, the VET reform aimed at increasing working life relevance and on-the-job learning entered into effect. All of the objectives of the reform have not yet been achieved in the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication: 60% of all skills demonstrations were realised in educational institutions and only 29% at workplaces so is still work to be done in terms of improving relevance to working life. On the other hand, the skills demonstrations performed at educational institutions are often genuine customer assignments and consequently correspond fairly well to the requirements of working life.

In addition, considerable differences were discovered in working life relevance between VET providers. Working life relevance was assessed, among other things, on the basis of whether the skills demonstrations had been integrated into on-the-job learning, whether working life representatives participated in assessing the skills demonstrations and how many of the teachers of vocational subjects had completed professional development placements.

The availability of workplaces for on-the-job learning and vocational skills demonstrations divided VET providers into two groups. About one half of them found the availability good or very good and about one half found it moderate or poor. The workplaces in the sector are often small and highly specialised, which was felt to complicate finding suitable workplaces for skills demonstrations, especially as regards qualification units that are completed by a large number of students.

In the evaluation data, the proportion of pedagogically qualified teachers of vocational subjects was on average at a very good level.

The assessment was carried out between 2013 and 2016 and the results therefore concern education and training provided according to the qualification requirements for the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication that entered into force in 2010. In autumn 2017, the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication became the Vocational qualification in Media.

The qualification title of holders of the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication is Media Assistant. The employment situation in the sector is difficult as in 2015, the proportion of full-time employees was 31% and 29% of qualification holders were unemployed a year after completing their qualification.



Stylman, V. & Jalolahti, J. Ammatillinen osaaminen audiovisuaalisen viestinnän perustutkinnossa (‘Vocational competence in the Vocational qualification in Audio-visual Communication’). Publications 12:2018. Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.


Further information:

Veera Stylman, Evaluation Expert, tel. +358 29 533 5555

Paula Kilpeläinen, Senior Advisor, tel. +358 29 533 5557