Skills for Life

Finding one’s own strength and developing self-esteem can restore one’s belief in the future.

The Skills for life program strengthens life skills and working life competencies among youth in the transitionary phase of upper secondary education. A wide range of activities are offered throughout the school year.

An important component of the activities are the art workshops held twice a year, in which young people work together with artist instructors and produce, for example, a circus performance or short film. Through working together, the youths deal with themes that come up in their own lives and think about their future. At the same time, they learn to find their own strengths and skills and, in turn, also learn to conceptualise their possibilities for the future.

The workshops are led by a group of professional artists who have many years of experience working with youth. During the activity period, the youth go to meet a well-known person who has been successful in using their own life skills. These inspiring people are #dreamsters Jani Toivola, Pamela Tola, Essi Hellén, Krista Kosonen and Tommy Lindgren.

After the three-day workshop, the young people continue working on their plans together with their teachers. In addition to Life skills work, the youth are supported in making plans for the future through sparring and employment info sessions with the Foundation’s partner companies, which provide youth with different perspectives on future opportunities.

Strong life skills moving towards adulthood

The year-long, multidisciplinary activities aim to ensure that youth can find their strengths, learn to trust in their abilities and realise their opportunities.  The goal is for youth to actively seek out a place to study or work after the Valma preparatory training and to ensure that they genuinely want to move forwards in their lives. In addition, they gain a better understanding of their own competencies for working life and of how their strengths can be put to use in different sectors.

According to a study conducted as part of the programme, the activities have improved team spirit in the courses, strengthened young people’s belief in the future and genuinely promoted students’ opportunities to find their own path.

The Skills for life activities are funded by Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY).


During the three-year period, the school-year-long activities are being organised in 30 Valma preparatory education classes. We are currently searching for cooperating institutions and other partners. If you are interested, contact Anna-Maija Lahtinen, Project Manager of the Skills for life programme (, tel. +358 (0)40 8269 121).

In spring 2016, the activities are being organised in the educational institutions that were previously involved.


The workshops were first organised in 10th grade and professional start classes, then later in the new Valma classes. During the operating years, the programme reached 500 youths and dozens of teachers throughout Finland. The activities took place either during the autumn or spring term. The programme also produced the Elämäntaitojen äärellä (On the brink of life skills) study, which was published in March 2016. The study is available for free on this page.

Our partner institutions for 2013–2015 were Varia, Winnova, Tredu, Luksia, Livia, Stadin Ammattioppilaitos, Salon and Oulun seudun Ammattioppilaitos and the Seurakuntaopisto. The cooperation network also includes Deloitte, the Finnish Youth Research Association, HUMAK, the Pirkanmaa Film Centre, Children of the Station / Friends activities, EHYT ry and Sirkus Magenta.