Gap year and working life after comprehensive school
Compulsory education ends the year you turn 16, after you receive your diploma for 9th grade. You are not obligated to apply for studies after you complete comprehensive school but gaining a further education is recommended. You can also apply for work and study for a qualification alongside work. Financial aid will only be granted for studies or an active job search.
If you have been admitted to an educational institution but would like to start your studies the following year, this is possible for a justified reason. These justified reasons include, your own illness or disability or that of a family member, your own pregnancy or family leave. A year spent as an exchange student abroad is also a valid reason to postpone studies. The education provider will make all decisions concerning the postponement of studies. The grounds for postponement must be equal and the same for all students.
Yes, you can. The joint application process is open to everyone also those who have graduated from comprehensive school in previous years. Students are selected for studies and training at upper secondary educational institutions on the basis of points. Those young people who have just graduated from comprehensive school do not have priority.
Yes, you can. You can spend a productive gap year, by studying in 10th grade or folk high school, where you can take courses in art and find out about different fields or improve your physical health.
You can apply for VALMA - Preparatory education for upper secondary vocational education and training, which is intended for young people who have completed comprehensive school and still want to consider their career options. You can apply for VALMA preparatory education, even if you have completed comprehensive school at an earlier time. You will receive extra points during the next joint application round for completing VALMA preparatory education. You may also have the opportunity to transfer from VALMA preparatory education directly to a vocational institution in the middle of the academic year.
Some young people will have the opportunity to go abroad for a year as an exchange student or to take part for example in an international job camp.
Discuss your options for your gap year with your school’s guidance counsellor.
No, you cannot. You can only apply for financial aid provided by society only for the purpose of studies, an active job search, workshop activities or similar. You guardian will be responsible for supporting you financially for as long as you are a minor. You can be granted a labour market subsidy if you are unemployed at the age of 17, but this will include requirements such as participation in a workshop.
If you decide to take a gap year without studies or employment, you should plan other interesting and meaningful things to do throughout the year. This may include for example volunteer work in an organisation.
Workshops organised by the municipalities are intended for all young people under the age of 29, who do not have a study place or job. Contact your municipality’s youth services and ask how you can sign up for a workshop. One workshop lasts anywhere from one month to ten months. Workshop participants may be granted a labour market subsidy, if they take part as a client of the TE Office.
A workshop can provide one-on-one guidance. While working in the workshop you will go over your plan for the future and thoughts on work and studies with the workshop coordinator.
If, after the workshop, you begin vocational training in the same field the knowledge and skills you have gained in the workshop can be included in your studies.
You can apply for work straight after comprehensive school, but it is a good idea to get a qualification. If you continue in the same workplace for a longer period of time, you can perhaps complete a vocational qualification through an apprenticeship there. Getting a qualification will help you to find employment and progress in your career later on.
A person over the age of 15 can enter into a full-time employment contract. Working hours are the same as for adults. However, an employer may not assign a person under the age of 18 to work that is hazardous to one’s health, very stressful or requires too much responsibility. A minor cannot be required to take on too much responsibility, including responsibility for their own and others’ safety.