Special education through Finland

AMEO is a partnership network of Finnish vocational colleges: Aitoo Training Center, Kiipula Vocational College, Live Vocational College, Luovi Vocational College, Spesia Vocational College and Optima.

All these colleges operate in the field of vocational special education.

AMEO network’s objectives are to influence legislation and practices in the area of vocational special education. Our aim is to equally provide vocational special education services throughout Finland and also develop the implementation of vocational special education.

What is vocational special needs education and training?

Vocational special needs education and training (SNE) is intended for students who need special support with their studies and subsequent placement. Grounds for SNE may arise from disability, learning difficulties, mental or physical health problems or social difficulties.

Where is it provided?

Special needs VET is provided by regular vocational colleges and colleges for SNE. There are six colleges for SNE in Finland, including one Swedish-speaking college. You can find a list of these colleges and their websites below.

What do they do in colleges for SNE?

Education and training is organized in small groups. Students are provided with individual guidance and support with their studies and daily living. In addition to programmes leading to upper secondary vocational qualifications, colleges for SNE offer preparatory education for upper secondary vocational studies and preparatory education for work and independent living. Some colleges also offer vocational adult education and training and pre-vocational preparatory education for immigrants.

Why are those colleges so special?

Training experiments. Colleges for SNE organise training experiments in order to assess the participant’s aptitude, interest and abilities in their chosen VET field. The experiment period also involves assessing the need for support measures relating to education and learning.

Individual educational plan. Each student is provided with an individual educational plan (IEP). The plan will be revised throughout the period of study and it involves a follow-up plan.

Support and well-being services for students. Students receive individual support in issues relating to studies, rehabilitation and employment. Co-operation with the student, his or her family and other experts forms an integrated part of studies. As a general rule, colleges also offer accommodation with related support services.

Expert services

Colleges for SNE also function as development centres of special needs education and training. They offer in-service training and consultancy and produce materials for special needs education.

You can find further information and contact details on the colleges’ websites: