Report: More public procurement education and training needed
A report on public procurement education and training in Finland in 2021 was published as part of the Procurement Finland programme and the implementation of the National Public Procurement Strategy. The report charts the educational backgrounds of professionals engaged in public procurement and compiles information about educational institutions that provide procurement education and training. According to the report, there is a particular need for more in-depth education and training in public procurement.
Of the 26 higher education institutions that responded to the survey, 22 said they offered procurement education and training. However, their offerings focus on general procurement, not specifically on education and training preparing students for public procurement.
Public procurement education and training was mainly provided as limited special content. However, the higher education institutions were of the opinion that general procurement education and training also prepares students to implement public procurement projects. The currently available education and training does not, however, sufficiently take into account the special features of public procurement, for example, with respect to knowledge of the legislative environment. The report’s findings support the need to increase and expand public procurement education and training.
Public procurement competence is acquired outside of higher education institutions
Of the respondents who engage in public procurement in their work, 79% said that their studies did not include procurement skills. Few felt that their degree had prepared them to handle public procurement tasks. At the moment, the majority of people engaged in public procurement gain the competence required by their job description through training organised by their employer or independently. This poses challenges particularly to small contracting entities, which may not have sufficient resources to offer their employees procurement training.
Almost 80% of people engaged in public procurement have a higher education degree. Of the respondents, 51% said that they had graduated from a university and 28% from a university of applied sciences. At the moment, people whose main job is public procurement usually hold a Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Administrative Sciences or Master of Science (Technology) degree. Experts that support public procurement are most often trained in the fields of law, administration or commerce.
The aim is to chart procurement competence
The Procurement Finland programme is currently preparing a competence self-evaluation tool for contracting entities with the aim of giving contracting entities an opportunity to examine their strengths and development needs relating to procurement competence in more detail. By using this tool, information gathered at the national level and the education and training report that has just been published can be used to better develop procurement education and training as well as public procurement competence in the future.
The report is part of the Ministry of Finance’s and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities’ Procurement Finland action programme and the National Public Procurement Strategy. The report was drawn up by knowledge-based management consulting company Innolink.
Inquiries related to the report:
Niina Ruuskanen, Senior Specialist, Association of Finnish Local and Regional authorities, tel. +358 46 920 0234, niina.ruuskanen(at)kuntaliitto.fi
Marika Tuomela-Pyykkönen, Doctoral Researcher, Oulu Business School, tel. +358 40 543 3323, marika.tuomela-pyykkonen(at)oulu.fi
Inquiries related to the Procurement Finland programme:
Tarja Sinivuori-Boldt, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance tel. +358 295 530 433, tarja.sinivuori-boldt(at)gov.fi
Katariina Huikko, Senior Legal Counsel, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 50 566 4327, katariina.huikko(at)kuntaliitto.fi