Key performance indicators demonstrate Xamk's impact

Population decline, aging, and low education levels are common challenges for the regions of South-Eastern Finland. While these issues are familiar to other regions as well, they are particularly pronounced in South Savonia and Kymenlaakso. What is Xamk’s role in this context?

In its commitment to promoting regional development, the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Xamk, holds an exceptionally significant role,” says Timo Aro, a leading expert in regional development.

A study by Aro highlights Xamk’s regional impact and underscores the breadth of its operations, attractiveness, and the significance of its Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) activities. The work carried out at Xamk impacts population development, the availability of skilled workforce, and the renewal of economic structures by raising the level of education, and fostering entrepreneurship.

Timo Aro sees Xamk’s importance in its operational area as a continuum: expertise is generated, expertise multiplies, and it benefits the business sector.

What if Xamk did not exist? “From the perspective of the development and future of these regions, the consequences would be so dramatic that I dare not even assess their significance to Kymenlaakso or South Savonia,” Aro responds. He also notes that Xamk has, almost unnoticed, become one of the largest universities of applied sciences outside of Finland’s major growth centers.

Universities of Applied Sciences play a significant role in their respective regions. This is especially true in the area where Xamk operates: if this UAS didn’t exist, it would need to be invented.”
Timo Aro, a leading expert in regional development at VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland

Degree programs correspond to the needs of working life

Teaching and learning at Xamk are designed to meet current and future workforce needs. This is ensured through continuous collaboration with local organisations and by creating new and evolving educational programmes.

The Nursing programme in Kotka aims to attract international applicants and provide additional workforce for the healthcare sector. Kotka and Kouvola offer a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence programme leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.

Mikkeli features a programme in Digital Marketing Management at the Master’s level, along with programmes in Sustainable Development Technologies and Business Management in Well-being Services at the Bachelor’s level. In Savonlinna, a Master’s programme in E-services in Social and Health Care responds to demand for digital competence.

Education that addresses future needs helps renew regional expertise and industries. Graduates from Xamk are equipped with the latest technologies, work methods, and practical skills in their fields. The skills acquired in hands-on learning environments can be readily applied to their work tasks.


Education that meets the needs of the future revitalizes expertise and the business sector.


Xamk attracts students from near and wide, some of whom intend to stay

Every year, there are a total of almost 8000 primary applicants for degree education programmes, of which approximately 35% come from within Xamk’s operating area and 65% from outside of it. The degree programmes bring about 2900 new students to the campus cities annually, and some of them stay in the area after graduation.

Around 52% of Xamk’s bachelor- or master-level graduates report Kymenlaakso or South Savonia as their place of residence.

Xamk’s role as the only university of applied sciences in its region is significant: its existence has gradually improved the education level in South Savonia and Kymenlaakso by approximately 3.3% between 2010 and 2019. Currently, 26.1% of the population in the area holds a higher education degree, while the national average for regions is 32.2%.

A significant portion of the regions’ attractiveness is due not only to Xamk but also to the overall appeal of the area. However, there’s also a challenge regarding the ability to retain residents, as indicated by the migration of individuals with higher education degrees to other province.


The single university based in this area has a significant impact on the availability of skilled workforce.

One of our strategic objectives is to promote entrepreneurship

The changing business landscape requires entrepreneurship, supportive entrepreneurial networks, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Xamk supports all of these through its educational offering and expert services.

For degree students, Xamk provides an entrepreneurship education path that combines different fields of study and research activities, which accelerates the creation of new businesses. Approximately 4% of graduates become entrepreneurs, and the goal is to increase this to 5% by 2024.

To better address the needs of businesses and the business environment, Xamk established Xentre in the spring of 2021: a research and education unit focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation. Xentre has a strong presence in the Kymenlaakso and South Savonia regions.

The establishment of businesses in South Savonia and Kymenlaakso has been positive: 1600 companies between 2015 and 2020. Xamk aims to contribute to this development in the coming years as well. 




The evolving business sector requires entrepreneurial thinking, expertise, and collaboration, which Xamk supports by offering education and expert services.

Work-life oriented development

In 2021, Xamk had a total of 297 RDI projects aimed at promoting the local business community, with 938 companies as partners. The university of applied sciences’ expert competence is channelled through these projects into direct applied development.

Xamk’s role as a strong RDI university of applied sciences is further highlighted by external research funding of approximately 18.8 million euros, which is among the top in the nation. This investment enhances the vitality of both the South Savonia and Kymenlaakso regions, as the funds are directed towards real development areas within the business sector. Through its RDI activities, Xamk is building the future success factors of the region while supporting sustainability and the green transition.

In the collaborative development between the campus cities and Xamk, expert competence is targeted towards specific strategic projects that support regional priorities. Significant regional impact is often the result of interdisciplinary collaboration and continuity over several years.

The university of applied sciences’ RDI expertise is focused directly on applied development.

Xamk employs over 900 people directly and up to 1200 indirectly

In a growth-oriented manner, Xamk employs a total of 914 individuals and is a significant regional employer. The indirect effects on regional employment are also attributed to Xamk’s local purchases and investments. Through these purchases and investments, the number of indirectly employed individuals grows due to increased purchasing power. On average, the employment of three individuals leads to the employment of one additional person, meaning that Xamk’s indirect employment impact is even up to 1200 individuals. 



Sources: Timo Aro (VTT), Vipunen Educational Administration Information Service, Statistics Finland Placement Service Database, Xamk University of Applied Sciences (Statistics from Financial Services, Personnel Administration, Applicant Statistics, Student Statistics, RDI and Services).

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