The futures of futures studies
Pushing the boundaries of futures thinking

Teaching and studying futures as part of vocational education and training - an example from Forssa, Finland

As mentioned in the recent World Circular Economy Forum 2023,
Esther Goodwin Brown from the Circular Jobs Initiative Circular
Economy, recognised the power of vocational education and training (VET) in achieving circular economy and ensuring the sustainable
futures for all. The pace of change is and has been accelerating for the
last decades, and the uncertainty of the livelihood and wellbeing has
emphasized the need for positive outlooks on the future. To achieve
and maintain a positive outlook and to be able to keep learning new skills and redirect one’s professional path, implementation of futures literacy together with 21st century skills is needed. Preparing for the
futures starts from the vocational education institutions where the
students should get an understanding of the plurality of futures and how the decisions made in the past as well as today, impact the potential futures. This article will explore how a VET institution in Forssa, Finland, has been implementing futures studies and foresight methods to exercise transformative foresight. The concrete methods utilized have been futures workshops, questionnaires, lectures and discussions with the students, staff and business representatives alike – concrete results from these activities from 2022–2023 will be further explored in this article.

Futures Coordinator
Southwest-Häme educational federation of municipalities/Forssa Vocational Insitute