Upper secondary school, vocational studies or sports coaching—or all at once! Jämsä’s schools tailor educational programmes suitable for the young.
Upper secondary school, vocational studies, sports coaching and travelling for competitions. During time off, disc golf and even homework at some point. This is what Rasmus Tuominen’s life looks like. The 17-year old young man competes in racing. The nearest practice and competition track is in Hämeenlinna. This means there are plenty of travel days.
“I like to be doing something at all times and, in fact, my entire life is all about travelling,” he says.
The most important piece of the study, hobby and travel puzzle is good organisational skills. The student has a lot of responsibility, but doing a double, and/or triple, degree requires flexibility from the schools as well.
Fortunately, Jämsä upper secondary school and Gradia Jämsä are good collaborators. Student counsellors make sure that students who are completing several degrees get enough classes in both schools.
Rasmus Tuominen plans to complete his studies in four years. One day, once the package is completed, he will have finished upper secondary school, taken his A-levels and graduated as a travel industry service provider.
Clear pacing of the studies as a goal
The Jämsä upper secondary school is in the centre of Jämsä and the Gradia campus is in Jämsänkoski. The distance is approximately ten kilometres.
Students completing double or triple degrees receive personal study plans that aim for clarity and vast study complexes. This means that they do not have to travel between the schools daily or even weekly.
“The first year included vocational studies, the two following years are spent at the upper secondary school and the last year, I return to Gradia,” Rasmus describes his study path.
The on-the-job learning periods that are a part of the vocational studies he completed at Himos, where tourism students have plenty of interesting work opportunities.
“As an example, I helped out with ATV safaris and maintained the ice track.”
Sports coaching led to Jämsä
The biggest reason why Rasmus Tuominen wanted to study in Jämsä was the sports coaching. For four mornings of each week, all the athletes can participate in joint workouts. In addition, athletes from each sport also work out separately.
Strong sports in the Jämsä area are motor sports, orienteering and alpine events.
“We have had representatives of these sports come to our upper secondary school even from other towns,” upper secondary school headmaster Juha Damskägg confirms.
All in all, the Jämsä upper secondary school currently has 17 students who participate in sports coaching. In addition, there are 34 students from vocational studies or students who are completing multiple degrees. To participate in the coaching group, the youth must be a successful athlete in their age group. They also need a recommendation from their own sports federation.
“In practice, they all compete at the Finnish Championship level,” the headmaster says.
What’s happening, vocational education?
Jämsän ammattiopisto college became Gradia Jämsä last year. It’s a part of Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia.
Besides the name, other new things are also in the works. At the end of next year, the upper campus, ‘the forestry hill’, will get education premises of 1,800 square metres.
“This means the personal vehicle and small plane repair as well as logistics and forestry will all be together,” explains Petteri Järvinen, Gradia’s headmaster.
He believes that the modern spaces will entice students in these fields to come to Jämsä.
“Forestry and logistics are fields of the future. There is a continuous need for labour,” he reminds.
Study right away
As FinnMetko opened its doors as August turned to September, even the local vocational education was visible to thousands of trade fair visitors. Gradia had its own stand at the fair. In addition, the school was involved in organising the Finnish Championships of forest machine and excavator use.
Petteri Järvinen wants to present Gradia as a modern school with an unbeatable geographical location. Jämsä is easily accessible and the school is right next to ski tracks, a disc golf track, an indoor swimming pool, gyms and many other things.
The slopes at Himos are less than 30 minutes away by car.
“In a small community, everyone knows each other by name, the dorms are cosy and the food is good. We support on-the-job learning and make personal study plans for each student,” the headmaster lists.
The renewal of vocational education has enabled continuous application periods for schools and tailored studies. If a trade fair visitor becomes interested in studying, they can start almost immediately!
“That’s right. Almost every week, we get new students while graduated professionals leave us.”