Future Work Research and Development - Hämeen ammattikorkeakoulu
Future Work Research and Development
Hämeen ammattikorkeakoulu
Fingers touching with a green light on the background.

Future Work Research and Development

Future Work Research and Development

Exploring Future Work

Future Work Research and Development (Future Work R&D) is being established in 2019 to contribute to HAMK Edu Research Unit with a specific focus and interest on exploring transforming work, future skills of professionals and continuous learning. Its goals are to 1) apply educational research and development in close collaboration and dialogue with companies, 2) foster dynamic public-private partnerships with the world of work, and 3) enable new and innovative continuous learning opportunities to professionals at work.

Digitalization, globalization and workforce ageing with a rapid decline in routine work give rise to new forms of work in future. OECD (2019) estimates that 65% of the children currently at school work in professions that does not yet exist, such as “vertical urban gardener” or “drone controller”. The transformation of jobs require new and different skills; reskilling and upskilling professional competencies becomes imperative in every career. In addition to STEM and basic digital skills, there is evidence of a need in generic, transferable skills (“21st century skills”) including collaborative problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. New, agile and flexible solutions for continuous training are needed, as well as better synchronization of technology, competence development and qualification of employees.

Future Work R&D is a spin-off research initiative of Global Education R&D of HAMK Edu, where global partners are constantly looking for scalable models to strengthen learning between educational institutions and companies. Employment, innovations and continuous learning are considered as key factors to build sustainable societies and “conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment” (UN Agenda 2030).

In further, Future Work R&D contributes to multidisciplinary Bio 4.0 Research Hub of HAMK with an interest of innovation and ecosystem development and collaborative learning in networks. The team implements its research results in design of company coaching and consultation, and degree programs, teacher education, and in-service training at Häme University of Applied Science (HAMK) and its partner organizations.

OECD (2019), OECD Employment Outlook 2019: The Future of Work, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9ee00155-en.

The Research Interests of Future Work Research and Development:

1) The transformation of professions and skills
1.1 Generic, transferable skills of future professionals including resilience and self-compassion
1.2 Vocational teachers’ and on-the job- trainers’ future competencies

2) New approaches to competence development
2.1 Technology-enhanced learning at work, e.g. simulations, gaming, virtual reality, AI and smart devices to enhance self-reflection
2.2 Software-human guidance in personalization of learning and learning at work

3) Continuous learning across boundaries and in networks

3.1 Transdisciplinary innovation development and implementation in communities and ecosystems
3.2 Collaborative production of innovation and learning in networks

Figure 1. The Research Interests of Future Work Research & Development (Ryymin, Eerola, Korhonen, Maetoloa, Paananen, Postareff & Viskari, 2019).



Continuous Learning at Work 2020-2021

Successful organizations are innovative, adaptive, and ever-changing and this needs the skill and knowledge of the qualified workforce as well as continuous learning at work. Work-based learning can be, for instance, formal and informal, social or / and self-directed learning. Engagement to continuous learning may be, however, challenging. It requires time, resources, commitment and motivation. The goal of the project is to investigate those organization- , team- and individual-related factors that support and challenge continuous learning at work, especially  in transforming branches influenced strongly by digitalisation and globalisation. The research results will be implemented in planning innovative strategies for promoting efficient continuous learning at work.

Partners: The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK ry), Häme University of Applied Sciences, four large companies from Finland representing metal industry, transportation and aviation, retail and health care. Advisory partner: SITRA.

Future Skills of Professions and Vocational Teachers in the Changing Society 2019-


One of the leading research interests of Future Work R&D is to explore vocational teachers’ and educators’ future skills. What kind of skills and competencies should teachers have for enabling their students to succeed in their learning processes and future professions? How to engage and guide learning through personalized study paths in schools and in the world of work, and foster collaborative learning? What kind of competencies teachers need themselves in their own career transformation, how e.g. systematic self-reflection can enhance teachers’ professional development? What are vocational teachers’ generic and transferable skills? What kind of roles do psychological flexibility (resilience) and self-compassion play in teachers’ well-being, engagement and change management?

Future Work R&D is continuously exploring answers to these research questions through ongoing data gathering and research collaboration with School of Education of University of Helsinki, University of Turku and University of Tampere, and network of Schools of Professional Teacher Education in Finland.

Innovation Development in Multidisciplinary Teams in Bio 4.0 2019-2022

The strategic goal of the project Bioeconomy 4.0 project of HAMK is to utilize possibilities of the fourth industrial revolution (digitalization, IoT, data analytics) in sustainable bio-processes and carbon sequestration. The initiative combines the efforts of all four research units of HAMK, HAMK Bio, HAMK Tech, HAMK Smart and HAMK Edu, to serve the same goal: developing the Bioeconomy 4.0 framework, and a multidisciplinary Bio Hub Lab to HAMK. The specific research interest of Future Work R&D, and its partner Digital Work and Learning -Reseach Unit from Helsinki University, is knowledge creation for innovation development in multidisciplinary practical research projects. The aim is to develop a methodological framework on how to follow complex projects in networks on multiple levels, where innovations are developed and implemented by diverse actors with the use of technology and various digital tools.

Partners: Ministry of Education, Finland, University of Helsinki (Digital Work and Learning Research Unit), Aalto University, Network of large and small and medium-sized enterprises in bioeconomy industry.

Cobots Transforming Work and Learning 2019-2021

presenting a robot

Photo: Nea Saarinen, HAMK

The research and development -project of HAMK Tech (School of Technology) and HAMK Edu examines the implementation and development of cobots (co-robots or collaborative robots, Y-generation of the industrial robots) intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. The goal is to find effective practices for production and work quality in cobot-human work processes and to create web-based solutions for work-based learning of on-demand skills of robotization in companies and engineering education. The long-term goal of the project is to promote partner companies’ competitiveness and strengthen regional and national innovation and learning ecosystem of Industry 4.0.

Partners: Regional Council of Häme, European Regional Development Fund, Network of large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises in steel and construction industry

DC4WORK Learning at Work in a Digital Age – Promoting Digital Competences for Employability and Innovation 2017-2019

In DC4WORK-project Future Work R&D analyzes and documents, on the basis of the EU Framework DigComp 2.0, the demand for employment-related digital competences in SMEs (especially in trade and tourism) and produces solutions for flexible continuous training. The goal is to provide also the knowledge and instruments to raise awareness of digital disruption of work and to promote a better synchronization of technology, organizations and digital competence development of employees.

Partners: IHK-Projektgesellschaft mbH Frankfurt (Germany, coordinator), Häme University of Applied Sciences, School of Professional Teacher Education (Finland), Mentortec – Business consultant & VET provider (Portugal), BFI Tirol – VET provider (Austria), European Forum of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (EfVET) (Belgium), Network of European small and medium-sized enterprises in trade and tourism.

Reform of VET in Teachnical Fields (TEFORMI) 2018-2020

people smiling

Photo: HAMK

The goal of TEFORMI is to form dynamic partnerships between vocational schools, world of work and universities of applied sciences to respond to the shortage of qualified workers and skills in the transforming industries. The partnerships will focus especially on mechanical and manufacturing industry, vehicle technology, electrical and automation technology and building maintenance technology. The goal of TEFORMI is to accelerate continuous learning by building hybrid learning environments for shared use of schools and industries and to train vocational teachers to be more aware of regional skills and workforce needs. In further, the project contributes to the Baltic Sea Strategy by fostering international partnerships in hybrid learning environment innovations and ecosystem building.

Partners: European Social Fund, Regional Council of Häme, Kouvola Region Vocational College, Tavastia Vocational College, Network of large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises in manufacturing and vehicle technology industry.

The Fast Vocational Path to the Labour Market (NOPSA) 2016-2019

A woman moving a sheet metal plate.

NOPSA – “The fast vocational path to the labour market” -project strives to find solutions to streamline the transition from vocational education and training to further studies in universities of applied sciences, and to speed up the study path leading to the labour market. The specific focus is on the fields of technology, communication and transport, where the shortage of qualified employees is remarkable. The project has generated scalable practices, models and digital solutions to transition streamlining and it follows the framework of the national reform of vocational upper secondary education in Finland.

Partners: European Social Fund, The North Ostrobothnia Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Satakunta university of applied sciences, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Centria University of Applied Sciences, City of Turku / Turku Vocational Institute, Careeria, City of Tampere / Tampere Vocational College Tredu, WinNova Länsirannikon Koulutus Oy Ltd.

Creve 2.0 – Collaboration Model for Creative Business Services 2018-2020

brainstorm image.

The aim of the Creve 2.0 -project is to create a national structure of services for creative industries that has constant collaboration with other industries, business services, educational institutions and other supporting services. The project co-operates with other projects dealing with creative industries as well as both growth and restructuring the industrial field. The project concentrates on availability of business services, boosting use of mediator services and finding new funding possibilities. It will tackle the hinders in growth that are based on shortages in education and know-how. The project will also create collaboration models for the usage of creative industries in other branches of industries as well as in other parts of modern and future oriented society. The project manager is HUMAK University of Applied Sciences

Partners: Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), Aalto University, University of Lapland, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Design Centre MUOVA, Österbottens hantverk rf (The House of Crafts Loftet).

Partners at HAMK:

HAMK Smart 
HAMK Design Factory 
Bioeconomy 4.0
Finnish Academy for Skills Excellence
Global Education Research and Development


The European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL)
The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)
The Finnish Educational Research Association (FERA)
The Finnish Innovation Fund (SITRA)
The Finnish Vocational Educational Research Association (OTTU ry)
National Foresight Network (Foresight.fi)
EduLearn Conference
Sotepeda 24/7


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Cao, Y., Postareff, L., & Toom, A. (2018). Teacher educators’ approaches to teaching and the nexus with self-efficacy and burnout: examples from two teachers’ universities in China. Journal of Education for Teaching. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2018.1450954

Corado, C. & Ryymin, E. (2018). Building Quality Education and Sustainable Future in Finnish-Brazilian Teacher Education.  Finnish  Journal of Professional and Vocational Education, Digital Special Edition 20(5), 98-104.

Eerola, T. 2016. Our understanding of the pedagogy of vocational top expertise. In Eerola, T. (ed.) The Pedagogy of Vocational Top Expertise. Häme University of Applied Sciences,  8-14. https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/118124

Eerola T., Tuominen P., Hakkarainen R., Laurikainen M., Mero N. 2014. ROLL OUT THE TALENT : Final project report.  https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/70678

Eerola, T. (Ed.) 2013. Towards Vocational Top Expertise. Häme University of Applied Sciences. https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/61172

Korhonen, AM., Ruhalahti, S. & Veermans, M. (2019). The online learning process and scaffolding in student teachers’ personal learning environments. Education and Information Technologies, 24(1), 755-779. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-018-9793-4 

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Postareff, L., & Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2015). What triggers emotions in university teaching? Journal of Professional and Vocational Education, 17(2), 83-96.

Rintala, H., & Nokelainen, P. (2018). Työn murros haastaa ammatillisen koulutuksen. Talous & Yhteiskunta 2/2018.http://www.labour.fi/ty/tylehti/ty/ty22018pdf/ty22018RintalaNokelainen.pdf

Rintala, H., Nokelainen, P., & Pylväs, L. (2019). Informal workplace learning: Turning the workplace into a learning site. In S. McGrath, M. Mulder, J. Papier & R. Suart (Eds.), Handbook of vocational education and training (pp. 729–742). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94532-3_97

Ruhalahti, S., Korhonen, A-M. & Rasi,P. (2017). Authentic, Dialogical Knowledge Construction: a Blended and Mobile Teacher Education Programme. Educational Research, 59(4) 373-390. Retrieved from  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131881.2017.1369858

Ruhalahti, S., Korhonen, A-M. & Ruokamo, H. (2016) The Dialogical Authentic Netlearning Activity (DIANA) model for collaborative knowledge construction in mOOC. The Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning, 4(2), 58-67. Retrieved from http://www.tojdel.net/journals/tojdel/volumes/tojdel-volume04-i02.pdf

Ryymin, E., Gautam, M., & Väisänen, T. (2019). Collaborative Robots Transforming Work and LearningHAMK Unlimited Journal 23.9.2019.

Ryymin, E. (ed.) (2019). Global Teachers Change Paradigms – Practical Paths to New Learning. Häme University of Applied Sciences. Hämeen kirjapaino oy: Tampere.

Ryymin, E., Korhonen, A.-M. & Niinimäki, J. (2019). Ammatillisten opettajien digipedagogiikan erikoistumiskoulutus ennakoi työelämän murrosta. HAMK Unlimited Professional 4.4.2019.

Ryymin, E. & Vainio, L. (2018). Successful Collaboration between Higher Education and Working Life requires Pedagogical Competence and Communication Skills from Teachers. Yliopistopedagogiikka 2/2018.

Ryymin, E., Corado, C., Friman, M., Majuri, M. & Viskari, M. (2018). Leading research and development for educational innovations. Revista Ibero-Americana de Estudos em Educação, Araraquara, 13, Especial 1, Maio (2018), 324-336. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21723/riaee.nesp1.v13.2018

Virtanen, V., Postareff, L., & Hailikari, T. (2015). Millainen arviointi tukee elinikäistä oppimista? Yliopistopedagogiikka (Journal of Higher Education), 22(1), 1-11.

  • Laura Lamberg
  • Project Researcher, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate
  • Puh. +358 503062421
  • Interests: sustainability transformations, transdisciplinary innovations, wicked problems