Children playing outside.

Mayor Vartiainen establishes a working group to resolve early childhood education staff availability issues

Mayor Vartiainen has established a new coordination group for the city, tasked with resolving the availability issues of early childhood education staff. The group sets to identify and implement concrete measures that can resolve both the acute shortage of early childhood education staff and reverse the trend in the long term. “A sustainable solution to the staff shortage is key to the implementation of high-quality early childhood education and also to the coping and well-being of staff,” says Mayor Juhana Vartiainen.

Helsinki City Strategy: A Place of Growth lays down that Helsinki will draw up measures to improve the availability of staff and start implementing these measures during this council term. These measures will ensure that the share of qualified staff in early childhood education increases and that working conditions and substitute arrangements are improved.

“The current situation in early childhood education requires our urgent attention. Issues of staff availability will be strongly present during this council term and throughout this decade. Without concrete, sustainable measures and strong advocacy and cooperation with the state, we will not be able to reverse the trend and resolve the staff shortage,” says Mayor Vartiainen.

The coordination group is tasked with finding solutions and making guidelines that affect the staff availability both in the short and long term, drawing up an advocacy plan and agreeing on responsibilities related to its implementation, as well as communicating regularly on the state of early childhood education and the measures taken to various groups.

Furthermore, the group is tasked with realistically assessing the scale of the solution created through the measures taken by the city and forming an understanding of the need for national reforms. A cost estimate and schedule must be prepared for all measures.

The Mayor has urged the divisions, departments and enterprises to provide the coordination group with the necessary support and to observe the instructions provided by the group so that immediate corrective measures can be taken without further delay. The coordination group will report to the Mayor at least four times a year and whenever necessary.

“Every child in entitled to high-quality early childhood. At the same time, every employee has the right to experience well-being at work. The realisation of these rights requires effective and long-term measures. I have given the coordination group a clear task and goals. The group includes a wide range of city experts, who I expect to take matters forward quickly and also actively communicate the measures taken to all city residents,” Vartiainen continues.

When the group was established, it was emphasised that it should make use of university and research cooperation as well as the expertise and views of early childhood education staff in its work.

The following persons were appointed to the coordination group: 

• Nasima Razmyar, Deputy Mayor, Chair

• Satu Järvenkallas, Executive Director, Education Division, Deputy Chair

• Tiina Harju-Kukkula, Head of Personnel, Education Division

• Niclas Grönholm, Head of Swedish Services, Education Division

• Maria Sarkkinen, Head of Vocational Education, Education Division

• Tarja Näkki, Head of Unit, City Executive Office

• Nina Dale, Communications Specialist, Education Division

• Pi Krogell-Magni, Head of External Communications, City Executive Office

• Anja Vallittu, Senior Adviser, City Executive Office

• Ilkka Haahtela, Head of Immigration and Employment Affairs, City Executive Office

• Mauno Rönkkö, Special Planning Officer, City Executive Office

• Sanni Pietilä, Specialist, Policy Planning, City Executive Office


The establishment of the coordination group will not alter existing power relationships.

Photo: Raisa Ranta