VAMK recognised as an Elite Athlete Friendly University

VAMK recognised as an Elite Athlete Friendly University

The Finnish Olympic Committee has awarded Vaasa University of Applied Sciences with the quality mark of an elite athlete friendly university, as evidence of comprehensive consideration of athletes’ needs during their studies. The recognition also highlights the longstanding collaboration with the Vaasa Region Sports Academy. VAMK is one of the five Finnish universities of applied sciences that have received this recognition.

The Finnish Olympic Committee recognised Vaasa University of Applied Sciences as an elite athlete friendly university at the conclusion of the audit process conducted in the autumn of 2023. The official quality mark was presented during the sports institution seminar held in Helsinki on May 6, 2024. Receiving the recognition from Vaasa were VAMK’s Quality and Sustainability Manager Katja Lakojoki-Karhu along with the Director of Operations from the Vaasa Region Sports Academy Jens Wallin. So far, the Finnish Olympic Committee has awarded the quality mark to five Finnish universities.

Being officially an elite athlete friendly university means that at VAMK, the practices for guiding students are verified to effectively support athletes in combining sports and studies. The quality mark also demonstrates the university’s longstanding collaboration with its local sports academy. The cooperation between VAMK and the Vaasa Region Sports Academy has been close for a long time and has further intensified through the audit process.

“The foundation for a successful transition from the highest level in sports to the professional world is built throughout the athlete’s entire career pathway. In the model developed at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, the skills acquired from top level sports and dual careers are highlighted even more clearly, enabling a remarkable civilian career as well”, says Wallin.

“The elite athlete friendly quality mark awarded to VAMK is a significant recognition of the systematic development work carried out over the years. At the core of all our development efforts is the success and well-being of our students”, tells Ville Isoherranen VAMK’s Acting President, CEO.

Athletes receive support in various stages during studies

The goal of the quality work in elite athlete friendly higher education institution is to enhance athletes’ ability to pursue higher education in a manner that best supports their ambitious athletic careers. The evaluation of elite athlete friendly higher education institutions is based on a quality model consisting of six evaluation areas and 23 quality factors. These factors include, among other things, personal academic guidance, flexible study arrangements, recognition of skills acquired through sports, and collaboration with sports academies. One of the key objectives is also to facilitate athletes’ transition to higher education following upper secondary education.

“During the audit process at VAMK, the teaching processes were examined concerning individual student guidance, recognition and validation of previously acquired competencies, as well as flexible study paths. The audit process as a whole helped us identify specific areas for improvement and also highlighted our strengths. It’s truly great to be part of this network of elite athlete friendly higher education institutions. In the coming autumn we will host the next Elite Phase Dual Career Seminar”, says Lakojoki-Karhu.


elite athlete friendly university