Boosting Skills & Continuous Learning in Europe, Helsinki 23/9/2019

HEL we can! brings together the key sectors that can secure the right skills in the future

HEL we can! Boosting Skills & Continuous Learning in Europe is a side event of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union


Below the links to the recordings in room 101:

Morning + afternoon:

Highlights and outcomes + closing session (starts from 29:00 on):


As we head towards 2030, Europe is faced with the challenge of reskilling, upskilling and re-evaluating our needs and education to meet future demands. At HEL we can! we encourage and enable discussion between the key sectors that can create the change Europe needs.



Feels like we are all in Finnish classroom.


As the brightest educational minds facilitate the discussions, we encourage you to participate. Be mindful, come as you are, and bring your expertise. It’s easy!

A // Listen and learn – take the first step to dialogue

B // Focus – be here and now, participate and share your expertise

C // You get what you give – new synergies & possibilities for future cooperation



We all want to help the next generation of Europeans to succeed.

This is also the case with this conference – an outcome of cooperation between a handful of organisations, supported by several others. We aim for mutual trust – different sectors working together from labour organisations to businesses, from civil society to ministries. Internationally and then locally. 

Hungry for more?

If you are coming to Helsinki for HEL we can! why not come a bit earlier? Dare to Learn – the Festival for Rethinking Learning is the week before 19–20/9 and after HEL we can! the EAIE conference (European Association for International Education) starts the next day in the same venue 24–27/9. Helsinki is the place to be for learning and education enthusiasts in September.





08.30 // Registration and coffee

09.30 // Opening session,

Welcome words by Pia Pakarinen, Deputy Mayor for Education, City of Helsinki

Keynote speaker Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness

Representatives from Local, National and International Youth Councils Bicca Olin, Khalid Omar, Alma Rantalaiho

10.45 // Break to go to parallel sessions

11.00 // Two parallel sessions (participants choose one)

Future of work – how to keep up and fill the skills need? (room 101)

Education and learning – preparing skills for life (room 103)

13.00 // Lunch (networking possibilities and discussions)

14.00 // Keynote speech from the business perspective, Åsa Bergman, President & CEO, SWECO

14.30 // Two parallel sessions (participants choose one)

Innovation and research boosting competitiveness (room 101)

Continuous learning in changing work environments now and in the future (room 103)

16.30 // Break

17.00 // Highlights & outcomes from parallel sessions

17.30 // Closing session with keynote by Graham Brown-Martin, Author & Broadcaster, Learning {Re}imagined, Founder of Learning Without Frontiers

18.30 // Closing cocktail & mingling




Pia Pakarinen

Deputy Mayor for Education, City of Helsinki

Pia Pakarinen is the Deputy Mayor for Education since 2017 and her division consist of early childhood education and preschool education. Her portfolio also consists of basic education as well as general upper secondary and vocational education as well as liberal adult education. Pia joined the EU Court of Justice in the early years of Finland’s membership in the EU as a lawyer-linguist and lawyer-revisor. She has a diverse professional background in marketing and sales, entrepreneurship, having been the CEO of Helsinki Entrepreneurs and director of the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce.


Jyrki Katainen

Jyrki Katainen is the current Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. He joined the Commission in July 2014 as Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the euro. Before that he served as Prime Minister of Finland from 2011 to 2014 and Minister of Finance from 2007 to 2011. From 1999 to 2014, he was a Member of Finnish Parliament for the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus). Jyrki Katainen has a M.Sc. in Political Science from the University of Tampere, Finland and he did an Erasmus exchange year at the University of Leicester, UK.


Åsa Bergman

President and CEO, Sweco

Åsa Bergman was named the most powerful woman in Swedish industry by Veckans Affärer, a Swedish business magazine. She has a vast experience in sustainable architecture and engineering and has worked for decades in different roles at Sweco, the leading architecture and engineering consultancy in Europe. She has been President of Sweco since 2012 and has been given several leadership awards. Åsa will give the business perspective on the future of work and skills needed for Europe to thrive.


Graham Brown-Martin

He is a leader in the field of foresight and anticipatory research. He is the author of Learning {Re}imagined and has enjoyed a 30 year career spanning the education, technology and entertainment sectors. He was the founder of Learning Without Frontiers (LWF), a global think tank on the future of learning and he also runs an innovation and design consultancy.


Time-out // concept in room 103


We will break the traditional seminar structure. Participants do not sit passively and receive information from the speakers but can from the start be open for dialogue and encounters. The keynote speeches and questions and answers sessions aim for interaction, allowing the participants to reflect and discuss the contents in pairs and groups. 

We want to reform traditional panel discussions toward dialogue, to form a common understanding and constructive discourse. We start by changing the seating arrangements which have a surprisingly big impact on the atmosphere and the experience.

The purpose of the sessions in room 103 is to strengthen participation and trust, increase understanding of future developments and share insights and learn from each other. Are you up for it? Come as you are and bring an open mind.


Parallel Sessions


Future of work – how to keep up and fill the skills need?

Digitalisation and robotisation will change working life from the core – or will they? If in the 2030s most today’s professions don’t exist, what will replace them? If no lifelong careers exist anymore, what kind of models do we need to enable learning at work and support resilience to change? How can we create a job market that supports development and learning, while being flexible?

This session aims to answer questions on the key competences and skills needed in future working life. How do we foster the creation and development of these skills in the education system, at work and during leisure time? How can the EU support this and what does international cooperation bring to this development? Efficient utilisation of skills and know-how from within and outside the EU must increase.

With Menno Bart, Public Affairs Manager at the Adecco Group, Alison Crabb, Head of Unit, Skills and Qualifications at European Commission, Peter Fredman, COB Fredman Group, Henna Pursiainen, CEO Dare to Learn, and Pekka Puustinen, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, OP Financial Group

Discussion moderated by Mika Saarinen, Counsellor of Education, Finnish National Agency for Education


Education and learning – preparing skills for life

Can education today meet the challenges of tomorrow? Do we need a reform on how to learn and how to teach? And what is learnt and taught? We will look at the strengths of Europe and imagine education in the 2030s in Europe. Cooperation and exchanges are needed for best practices to spread. Obstacles must be torn down. How can integration and language learning best be supported?

How to increase mobility among students and researchers and how to support skills in mobility, such as language and entrepreneurial skills? Can education cooperation and increased mobility decrease youth unemployment and marginalisation.

With Hans Renman, Education & digitalisation strategist, Roosa Pajunen, President, Union of Upper Secondary School Students SLL, Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Professor for Educational Management and Lifelong Learning, Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University, Teemu Kokko, President, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and Gohar Hovhannisyan, Vice President, European Students’ Union

Discussion moderated by Kamilla Sultanova, Public speaker, Event moderator, workforce diversity consultant


Innovation and research boosting competitiveness

To tackle the climate crisis and global sustainability issues, new technologies and challenging the status quo is necessary. Cooperation between organisations, mutual learning and building the right competence is vital. Innovation needs investment and international cooperation is key.

We will discuss what boosts are needed and how success stories are born. What can we expect from the EUs next research programme? What role do the national research programmes play and how can we foster synergy? What is needed for the EU to become a front runner in AI or robotization? Organisations must evolve in order to take sustainability issues and climate change into their work.

With Karoli Hindriks, Founder, Jobbatical, Juha Heikkilä, Head of Unit, Robotics & Artificial Intelligence, Directorate-General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission and Timo Leskinen, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Konecranes

Discussion moderated by Maria Wetterstrand, CEO of Miltton Purpose


Continuous learning in changing work environments now and in the future

Continuous learning is a phenomenon, that touches different sectors in society. Funding learning is an investment for the individual, company and society – and Europe needs to increase competence. Learning gives meaning and fosters participation. People cannot be returned to school when they need to learn new skills; learning must happen at the workplace. Enabling workplace learning is good in terms of social policy, employment policy and for the society in general.

The Time Out methodology used in this session will allow for deep group discussion, led by moderators. The key questions answered are: How to enable learning together at the workplace? How to foster motivation to learn? How can we recognize competence gained through work and leisure time?

With Esko Kilpi, researcher in digital work and Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) and Director of the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning (C4MWL)

Discussion moderated by Veera Heinonen, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, SITRA



Kamilla Sultanova

Public speaker, Event moderator, workforce diversity consultant

Kamilla Sultanova is an award-winning community leader, TEDx speaker and bridge builder. She runs ConnectUz consulting on education export, youth and employee engagement building partnerships across sectors to promote social capital and skills building. Born in Uzbekistan, she has had a home-base in the Nordics for the last 17 years studying, working and changing the world locally and globally through her various roles in Europe to promote inclusive leadership. Alumni of the prestigious networks: European Young Leaders and German Marshall Fund Transatlantic inclusion leaders, Kamilla's mission is to build future workplaces that can work for everyone. 




One great thing about the Finnish society is cooperation and mutual trust – different sectors work together from the labour organisations to businesses, from civil society to ministries. This is also the case with this conference – an outcome of cooperation between a handful of organisations, supported by several others. 


Venue // Messukeskus Siipi Helsinki

Rautatieläisenkatu 3, 00520 Helsinki, Finland

NOTE! Use the Messukeskus Siipi entrance, just past the Holiday Inn!

How to get there


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