The Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2019 describes the results of Xamk’s responsibility work. 2019 was Xamk’s second year of responsibility reporting. We want to introduce reponsibility into our everyday life – work and study alike.

Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2019, results:
Xamk Open University of Applied Sciences hit a new high in 2019, as students taking Open UAS courses earned over 46,103 credits. For many years now, our Open University of Applied Sciences has been the largest open UAS in Finland.

Responsible choices in 2019, clarifying the strategic direction

At South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, responsibility is a strategic choice. We want to introduce responsibility into our everyday life – work and study alike. Our tool for achieving this is the social responsibility and sustainability programme that takes Xamk’s strategy and values into consideration.

2019 was Xamk’s second year of social responsibility and sustainability reporting. The results can be found in this report, published as a website.

We promote vitality and wellbeing in our region

As a university of applied sciences, our task is to promote vitality and wellbeing, particularly in our region, by providing education and engaging in research, development and innovation activities.

In addition to the regions in which we are present, the education we provide enhances competence throughout the country. In this respect, 2019 was a record year in many ways. Altogether, 1,821 students graduated from our bachelor’s and master’s programmes. This is the highest number of graduates in a single year to date.

In addition to degree programmes, providing opportunities for continuous learning plays an extremely important role in enhancing competence. Xamk Open University of Applied Sciences hit a new high as students taking Open UAS courses earned over 46,103 credits. For many years now, our Open University of Applied Sciences has been the largest open UAS in Finland.

RDI projects help to make quick changes

I am incredibly happy about the continuous strong growth of RDI activities at Xamk. Once again, we were the leader in the volume of RDI activities among the Finnish universities of applied sciences. Our RDI activities have a key role in the development of the Kymenlaakso and South Savo regions. We can implement changes through projects very quickly.

Our work is also influential beyond our region. We engage in extensive nationwide co-operation in project activities, and our alumni are employed throughout Finland. In the future, we want to increase our international influence.

Collaboration with higher education institutions and companies

In 2019, we continued our strategic co-operation with institutions of upper secondary vocational education and training in our region as well as further afield with Häme University of Applied Sciences and Aalto University.



Xamk contributed to the promotion of vitality in South-East Finland more actively than before. We want an increasing number of Xamk students and employees to establish a successful business. We also help existing companies to access a growth path and we support growing businesses. One of our goals is to promote the employment of immigrants as well as work-related immigration to the region.

Responsible conduct during the corona crisis

I am writing this in early spring 2020, when the whole country is suffering from the consequences of the corona pandemic. We are offering help to local businesses through the regional development companies. Of the 1,468 courses currently taught at Xamk, we have been able to teach 1,369 remotely, so that presence on campus is not necessary. We are acting responsibly by not allowing gatherings that would promote the spread of the virus, while still enabling studying.

Despite the pandemic, we have plenty of interesting tasks, challenges and opportunities. I would like to thank the staff and students for the excellent results achieved through our social responsibility and sustainability programme – let’s continue the good work in 2020.

Heikki Saastamoinen
CEO and President

Annual responsibility reporting

We want to introduce responsibility into everything we do at Xamk. Our social responsibility and sustainability programme supports our strategy and our profile as a higher education institution of responsible wellbeing, technology and creative economy. Our responsibility promises are also our values.

Xamk’s responsibility promises

Xamk’s social responsibility and sustainability programme is built on three promises:

  • Responsibility is part of our everyday life.
  • We care.
  • We work for tomorrow.

Each promise includes three themes with objectives to be monitored.

The results of the programme are compiled into an online social responsibility and sustainability report. The first report was prepared for 2018, and the first report in English is published for 2019.

Xamk’s social responsibility and sustainability programme

Xamk’s strategy for 2020–2030


Responsibility is part of our everyday life

We aim to make responsibility visible on our campuses in the everyday life of the staff, students and customers. We promote responsibility together. We use the WWF Green Office environmental system and provide responsibility training. We efficiently utilise the development opportunities provided by digitalisation.

We systematically develop our campuses in accordance with the users’ needs. A safe and accessible work and study environment is the basic requirement. All campuses have restaurants eligible for the Swan ecolabel.

We want to ensure good operating conditions and development opportunities through a stable economy and competent management. Our quality culture ensures continuous improvement and, consequently, excellent performance.

We make sustainable choices 

Xamk uses the WWF Green Office system as an everyday responsibility tool. In 2019, Xamk aimed to reduce the consumption of energy, water and paper on campuses as well as promote waste sorting, furniture recycling and optimal use of space. Old buildings with a high historical value are a challenge with respect to water and energy consumption. Electricity and heat were produced in 2019 with less emissions.

Xamk recommends that its staff use public transport for work-related travel. In addition, the staff and students are encouraged to cycle throughout the year. In 2019, Xamk decided to replace its shared cars with leased electric cars. These cars may only be used for necessary travel between campuses. Teleworking is recommended whenever possible, also in supervisory work.

The utilisation of digitalisation is also a sustainable choice. Xamk’s goal is to be a pioneer of digitalisation expertise among universities of applied sciences. A digitalisation roadmap was prepared for this purpose in 2019. Xamk incorporates digital structures, robotisation and AI in its operations and the education it provides in order to promote regional development and competitiveness. Digitalisation was taken into account also in the revision of curricula carried out in 2019. Xamk possesses extensive, internationally recognised research and development know-how in many areas of digitalisation, particularly in digital information management, cybersecurity and game technology.

Read the performance analyses for 2019 in Next!

The Green Office system paints campuses officially green, Director of Education Services Olli Ervaala

Xamk promotes responsible travel at work, Director of Education Services Olli Ervaala

Digitalisation is present in everything we do at Xamk, Research Director Noora Talsi, Director of Administration and Finance Tero Tallinen, Director of Education Paula Siitonen and Director of Library Services Pekka Uotila


Results from monitored areas

My motivation is to protect the environment

Environmental Engineering studies at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk focus on practical matters and hands-on experience, providing you with the opportunity grow yourself.

Environmental Engineering (EE) student Tan Ly chose Finland and Xamk as his place of study. According to Tan, Xamk provides a peaceful study atmosphere and great opportunities for students.

‘Xamk’s curriculum contains some really interesting courses related to environmental matters, such as climate change, water, soil and air treatment, and so on. As an environmental student, my motivation is to protect the environment. The other reason is the future of myself and my loved ones.’

Read Tan Ly’s interview on Degree blog:
My motivation is to protect the environment!

Tan Ly wants to work in environmental fields and fight for a better future.

Environmental programmes

WWF Green Office environmental management system


Monitoring of electricity, heat and water consumption, recycling and waste. All Xamk campuses have been preparing Green Office reports since 2019.

Green Office reporting 2019 
CONSUMPTION DATA  2019 Target in 2020
Electricity, MWh  8,124 -5%
Heat, MWh  13,043 -5%
Water, m3  18,114 -5%
Mixed waste, tons  144.85 -5%

Winter cycling became a phenomenon

According to the international IPCC report, cycling should be promoted to save our planet. Similarly, the Finnish government’s climate strategy to implement the Paris Climate Agreement is based on the goal to increase cycling and walking by 30 per cent in slightly over 10 years. To achieve this goal, the number of bicycle racks on Xamk campuses and their daily use throughout the year must also increase by 30 per cent.

Sponsored by VeloFinland, Xamk arranged its first winter cycling promotion event on 13 November 2018. Project Manager Anja Härkönen from the Creative Industries RDI unit took the opportunity on Kouvola campus. She made the arrangements with VeloFinland and shared winter cycling information on Kouvola campus. The 50 first visitors were given a bicycle lamp. A similar event increased bicycling also on Kotka campus.

Winter cycling increases and is increasingly discussed each year.


Monitoring of cars owned by Xamk, use of public transport, teleworking and teleworking tools and environmental awareness at Xamk. Annual action targets for these are specified in the Green Office system.

¹CAF self-assessment at Xamk in 2017, next assessment in 2021, scale 15 
Average score for the environmental performance statement¹


Digital accessibility at Xamk

According to the EU Accessibility Directive, everyone must have equal opportunities to use digital services. In Finland, the Directive is implemented through the national Act on the Provision of Digital Services (1 April 2019). In practice, this means that online services must be provided with consideration to the needs and requirements of different user groups.

When we were discussing digital accessibility at Xamk, we soon realised that the question must be viewed from a broader angle – not just from the perspective of the digital services. We define accessibility as follows:


‘Accessibility means how the facilities, electric systems, learning environments, teaching methods, learning materials and attitudes at the higher education institution enable participation and non-discrimination of people with different individual characteristics and situations in life.’

According to the Directive and the Act, digital services must be revised to meet the requirements by autumn 2020. The work will continue after this and extend into other areas of accessibility.


Our campuses are designed for their users

A campus that is well suited for its purpose, functional, pleasant and safe is the sum of many factors. Xamk acts responsibly in matters related to campus restaurants, occupational safety, data security and property services.

Three Xamk restaurants already carry the Swan label. All restaurants have responsibly produced local and organic food regularly on the menu. The restaurants favour batch cooking to reduce food waste. They emphasise sustainable procurement and provide training for the personnel in environmental questions.

Xamk continuously improves the working conditions so that they promote everyone’s health, safety, security and comfort at work. The staff and students are trained to take data protection and data security into account in their everyday work. Data security experts continuously survey and improve data security and prepare instructions. Each campus has a security working group, and the emergency plans and preparedness plan are kept up to date.

The re-established campus working groups provide Property Services with feedback on users’ needs relating to matters such as furniture or the use of facilities, for instance. In Kouvola and Mikkeli, any repairs are carried out respecting the valuable cultural heritage. Wherever possible, the properties are made more modern, user-friendly and, partially, also more energy efficient.


Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!                                                                                                               

The Swan label provides guidelines for Xamk restaurants, Head of Restaurant and Catering Services Minna-Mari Mentula

Occupational health and safety is part of comprehensive security, Workplace Wellbeing Coordinator & Head of Occupational Health and Safety Virve Kiviranta and Head of Security Jussi Jokivaara

Data protection and data security in everyday work, Head of Security Jussi Jokivaara, Systems Specialist Pasi Ääpälä and Data Protection Officer Markus Häkkinen

Property Services cater for the needs of campus users, Property Maintenance Manager Tuomo Kotola


Results from monitored areas

Twin campus -project between Xamk (FIN) and ITMO (RU)

‘The idea of a Twin Campus is still new, but the Twin City model is more familiar. Twin Cities already exist in many forms, such as Vienna–Bratislava, which brings us to our first benchmark destination, Vienna. The distance between Vienna and Bratislava is 214 kilometres, while St. Petersburg (ITMO) is located about 270 kilometres from Kotka (South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Xamk) and 284 kilometres from Kouvola (Xamk). The similarity in distance makes the Twin Campus model even more attractive.

In the case of our project, the term means building a bridge model between the two universities. We are already collaborating with each other, but we must also find new ways that will benefit our students and staff.’

Read Project Manager Sabine Suorsa’s article  > 

The Twin Campus project is implemented as part of the South-East Finland–Russia Cross-Border Cooperation programme.


Monitoring of campus working groups, repairs and new construction projects

¹Workplace development survey of employees, scale 1–5
²Statistics of Property Services
Working conditions¹ 3.86 3.94 4.00
Property operating costs², EUR million  11.18 11.24 11.56


Xamk restaurants are sustainable and ecological

The four Xamk campuses – Kotka, Kouvola, Mikkeli and Savonlinna – have seven restaurants. All of them provide lunch and café services and catering for students, staff and other customers.

Each restaurant has a unique profile. However, they all share a preference for local ingredients and organic products. The restaurants participate in the Portaat Luomuun (‘Stairs to organic food’) programme, and some of them were ecolabelled in 2015.

Xamk’s campus restaurant services are based on a relaxed atmosphere, cheerful customer service and high-quality food with a preference for Finnish ingredients. Sustainable and ecological values are particularly emphasised in the restaurant services.

 Xamk restaurants prefer local ingredients and organic products.




Monitoring of restaurants eligible for Swan label, Finnish ingredients, local food, Portaat luomuun programme. Xamk has seven campus restaurants: Junnu (Kotka), Paja (Kouvola), Kaari (Savonlinna), and DeXi, Kasarmina, Stadiumi and Talli (Mikkeli).

Organic products in all Xamk restaurants

  • 13–23 organic products depending on the restaurant
  • 30 different organic products altogether

Around 67 per cent of food was of Finnish origin in 2019, according to suppliers’ annual statistics.

The restaurants eligible for Swan label are Talli, Kasarmina and Dexi in Mikkeli.

Heat, electricity and water consumption figures for these restaurants are provided below.

Statistics of Xamk Property Services and Restaurant and Catering Services
HEAT CONSUMPTION, MWh 2017 2018 2019
Restaurant Talli 350 377 381
Restaurant Kasarmina 213 241 266
Restaurant DeXi 88 100 110
Restaurant Talli 179,940 174,682 179,072
Restaurant Kasarmina 156,155 145,442 144,578
Restaurant DeXi 54,458 54,060 44,930
WATER CONSUMPTION, m3 2017 2018 2019
Restaurant Talli 1,012 966 895
Restaurant Kasarmina 560 560 560
Restaurant DeXi 153 145 129

Restaurant and Catering Services. EUR

27,104 32,467 24,679


Continuous training in safety and security

Higher education institutions must be able to provide a safe learning and working environment. Safety and security are created in co-operation. Therefore, Xamk has invested in promoting the safety and security know-how of staff and students alike.

All safety and security-related matters can be found on Xamk’s Staff and Student intranet sites, and they are discussed on many other internal communication channels and at various events. In 2019, Xamk made its first safety and security training video. It is based on students’ needs but is also useful for promoting the employees’ awareness.

The Amazing Campus Race event – the first introduction to safety and security questions

New students are informed about safety and security at the Amazing Campus Race orientation event, arranged every year on each campus. Last year, students rehearsed incipient firefighting at the event. Evacuation drills are arranged for the personnel and students each year. In addition, the campus-specific security teams regularly receive systematic safety and security training.

Watch the safety and security training video on YouTube >


Monitoring of campus safety and security, data protection, data security and occupational health and safety

Statistics relating to safety, security and OHS at Xamk
SECURITY & SAFETY 2017 2018 2019
Data protection breaches 4 2
Safety observation notifications 24 35
Accidents, total 12 21 27
Accidents on the way to and from work 9 16 18
Accidents at work 3 5 9

We ensure stable economy and competent management

Xamk’s financial result for 2019 was negative as planned. The company’s annual turnover was EUR 74.2 million and the operational result was negative by EUR 1.5 million. The result was affected by the investment in functions that are important for the achievement of our strategic goals.

Core funding from the government decreased from the previous year, amounting to approximately EUR 54 million in 2019. Solvency and liquidity are excellent. Equity ratio was 73.4% and quick ratio 2.7. The result for 2020 is predicted to be close to zero.

Xamk makes every effort to procure responsibly. In 2019, altogether 72 competitive tendering processes took place through the Cloudia procurement system, a 25 per cent increase from the previous year. Environmental aspects were considered in more than 40 procurements made through e-procurement.

An efficient quality management system and a participatory quality culture ensure continuous development and good performance as well as positive effects on the surrounding society. In 2019, the personnel were encouraged to innovate and a bonus was paid for the best new ideas. Feedback on quality was also gathered from students and co-operation partners. Throughout the year, Xamk prepared for the national audit to be carried out by FINEEC in autumn 2020, aiming for a quality stamp.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Xamk’s finances in 2019, Financial Manager Satu Rask

Xamk makes every effort to procure responsibly, Procurement Manager Satu Sirkiä

Continuous development of the quality management system, Quality Manager Marjaana Kivelä


Results from monitored areas

A stable economy enables the development of management

Thanks to the good performance in previous years, Xamk’s economy continued to be strong in 2019. This means that we can continue investing heavily in areas that are important for our strategic goals to ensure a solid financial position also in the years to come.

Responsibility and environmental questions are always considered in everything we do. We have prepared a social responsibility and sustainability programme, all campuses have the WWF Green Office certificate and we are committed to a considerable reduction of our carbon footprint.

Revision of HR policy and audit preparations

In 2019, we prepared a new HR policy and personnel plan. They are based on equal and non-discriminative treatment of employees. We continued the Xamk Leader training for supervisors, aiming to further improve the quality of supervisory work and, consequently, improve wellbeing at work and the quality of our operations.

In 2019, we also continued to make preparations for the external audit to be conducted in 2020. We continuously evaluate and improve our quality management system and the associated evaluation and information gathering processes and methods also internally. In addition, in 2019 we initiated the development of a reporting and indicator system on the basis of the Power BI system. The goal is to improve the monitoring of performance and, in general, the development of management.


Indicators relating to finances and procurement

Financial statements and statistics
Change in turnover (%) 590.2 5.5 -2.2
Operating profit (%) 0.9 2.2 -2.4
Change in equity (%) 116.9 7.1 -4.4
Quick ratio 2.4 2.2 2.7
Liquidity days 56 62 69
Equity ratio (%) 72.4 71.4 73.4
Net gearing (%) -45.3 -48.7 -58.7


Statistics of Procurement Services. Gathering of data started in 2018.
Tender requests taking the ILO fundamental conditions into account 0 0
Proportion of procurements taking environmental aspects into account, % 32 42
Investments implemented according to plan, % 80 47

International benchlearning as a development tool

During the past couple of years, Xamk has been building co-operation with Chinese higher education institutions. The co-operation is now expanding into benchlearning: we will have the opportunity to become better acquainted with the methods of the Chinese Henan University as well as its students’ study paths. The participants to this project consist of Xamk students and employees.

We have previously used benchmarking and peer assessment as tools for organisational development. For Xamk, the benchlearning initiated now is part of the audit of operations to be conducted in 2020 by the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Centre.

Xamk chose Henan University as its benchlearning partner to speed up and reinforce the co-operation initiated with this university in 2017. The agreed co-operation primarily covers nursing degree programmes.




The co-operation with Henan University will also involve learning about the Chinese higher education system and Chinese culture.

We care


The wellbeing of students and staff ensures that we can work efficiently and achieve our goals. We want to be a good partner to our external stakeholders, so that the co-operation is fruitful for each party and socially influential.

We provide a dynamic higher education community that creates new knowledge with a participatory approach, so that our students, staff and external networks can all contribute to the development of future. We work and communicate transparently and visibly.

It is nice to come to work

Xamk employees are encouraged to active participation in the development of work and the workplace community. Job satisfaction is assessed each year by means of a workplace community development survey. According to the survey conducted in 2019, Xamk is a good place to work.

In 2019, Xamk appointed a workplace wellbeing coordinator, whose job includes the development of occupational healthcare co-operation and occupational health and safety activities. The occupational healthcare action plan was updated towards year-end, and we are aiming for more preventive occupational healthcare. Xamk applies an early support model to promote employees’ wellbeing and ability to work.

Xamk’s recruitment processes are transparent and fair. Vacancies are advertised on the intranet and external websites. Career development is supported by enabling job rotation and job exchange. Employees are provided with training during working hours to improve their professional skills. Individual needs for training and development are reviewed at annual performance appraisals.

Xamk prepared a new equality and non-discrimination plan for 2019–2021. The realisation of the plan is measured each year.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Looking after wellbeing at work makes Xamk a good place to work, Human Resources Manager Riitta Vehmassalmi and Workplace Wellbeing Coordinator Virve Kiviranta


Results from monitored areas

According to employees, Xamk is an equal workplace

Altogether 476 Xamk employees answered the equality and non-discrimination survey in 2019. The response rate was 58 per cent, 10 per cent lower than last year. Teaching, RDI, HR and administrative services were represented among the respondents in nearly equal numbers.

Judging by the average scores for the answers, Xamk is considered an equal workplace. The average score was 4.29 for ‘Women and men are treated equally at my workplace’ and 4.08 for ‘The pay for women and men is fair’. The average score for ‘Expectations on women and men are similar’ was 4.04.

Of all the respondents, 90 per cent had never experienced harassment or inappropriate treatment, and 86 per cent said that they have never been treated unequally or discriminated against. In order to be able to intervene in harassment and unequal treatment, employees are encouraged to apply the early support model or submit a notification in such cases.

The survey is based on the Equality Ombudsman’s survey and uses a scale of 1 to 5. The alternative ‘I do not know’ is not included in the calculation of averages.

Commitments and action plans

  • Equality and Non-Discrimination Plan
  • Diversity Charter


Monitoring of equality and non-discrimination experienced by employees

Equality and non-discrimination survey of personnel, scale 1–5
Equality as experienced by employee (mean value of 3 statements) 4.29
Employees who have experienced unequal treatment or discrimination, % 15% 18% 14%

Supervisors at Xamk received leadership coaching

47 supervisors from four campuses, representing all fields of study as well as research, development and administration, participated in the internal Xamk Leader coaching, launched in 2018 and completed in spring 2019. The programme consisted of four days of coaching and an internal workshop on HR, quality, security and safety. The workshop was arranged by experts from Xamk. The content of the coaching was tailored according to the management’s wishes.

The objective was to clarify Xamk’s general corporate culture as well as the roles of supervisors and management. In addition, the programme aimed to provide supervisors with practical tools for leadership and the development of their work. The themes of the training days were efficient first-line management, positive change management, self-management, wellbeing at work, labour legislation and our joint future: where are we heading and how will we continue from here?

The approach was participatory, operational and thought-provoking.

Xamk Leader coaching emphasised the importance of benchlearning and knowing each other.


Monitoring of employees’ possibilities for influence and participation and employees’ job satisfaction

Workplace development survey of personnel,
scale 1–5
Workplace practices and methods 3.84 3.93 3.93
Character of my job 4.05 4.10 4.07
Xamk is a good place to work 3.76 4.07 4.14


Teacher’s work placement at bank created new co-operation

The Suur-Savon Osuuspankki bank and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences introduced a new way of co-operation in spring 2019: teachers’ work placements at a bank. Xamk teachers work at Suur-Savon Osuuspankki for a month, monitor the employees’ work and record ideas and observations that they can apply in their own work and in the co-operation between the bank and Xamk.

‘I chose customer experience and operating environment analysis as my special themes for the work placement. My expectations on how a financial institution works were only partially correct. I learned a lot about how a bank works. I believe that the work placement provided me and my colleagues with a lot of content for the teaching of business administration, in addition to excellent practical cases and the opportunity to invite experts to give lectures,’ Ms Pia Jääskeläinen says.

From left: Niina Ihalainen (Suur-Savon Osuuspankki), Pia Jääskeläinen (South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences) and Elina Ikonen (Suur-Savon Osuuspankki). (Photo: Antero Heikkinen)


Monitoring of the opportunities provided by Xamk for the improvement of competence as well as self-training of personnel

Personnel report
Days of training 1,855 1,841 1,958


High student satisfaction

Student satisfaction continued to develop positively in 2019. Xamk conducts student satisfaction surveys of new and graduating students. In 2019, the surveys focused on the supervision of students’ interests, students’ opportunities for influence, equal treatment of students and non-discrimination.

Xamk enables flexible studying and provides individual learning paths. Xamk wants to enable accelerated graduation as well as combining studies and work. In 2019, altogether 23.4 per cent of courses at Xamk were also available online.

The services of a study counselling psychologist and other student wellbeing experts are also available when necessary. In 2019, the first appointment was always available within 15 days. For the first time in autumn 2019, Xamk offered a course led by study counselling psychologists to support students’ wellbeing and their ability to study. Students also have access to a wide variety of leisure sports activities and opportunities to try new sports.

The joint orientation for new students was improved in 2019 to serve students better. Students may read the instructions on getting started with their studies and learn about Xamk’s services online whenever it suits them best. Student Union Kaakko organised Amazing Campus Race orienteering events on each campus during the orientation week.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

High student satisfaction rate, Secretary General of Student Union Kaakko Jenni Aikio and Director of Education Services Olli Ervaala

Xamk enables flexible studying, Director of Education Administration Eeva Kuoppala and Development Manager, Education Sini Taimela

Student wellbeing is everyone’s right, Study Counselling Psychologist Karoliina Saure


Results from monitored areas

How to pitch an idea and reach the stars?

One good thing about establishing a business is that you get to do whatever you want. You don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. Instead, you get to be your own boss. But to start, you must have a business idea and learn how to pitch and sell your idea.

When I was studying for my bachelor’s degree, I didn’t have a clue what to do after graduating. I had some ideas on what to do if I became an entrepreneur, but the idea of being one was somewhat scary to me. Still, I tried to face my fears and start my entrepreneur’s life. The problem was just that I didn’t have a platform or space for speaking my ideas aloud and getting feedback on them. I would have loved to belong in a culture that supports entrepreneurship.

Read Project Manager Antti Leppilampi’s article in the Read online magazine >

While larger organisations still focus a lot on avoiding mistakes and developing the organisation with small steps, startups are reaching for the stars. Photo: Antti Leppilampi


Monitoring of individual learning paths as well as support, guidance and advice provided for students to enable professional growth and identification of learning-related challenges. The quality of student guidance is monitored by means of quality surveys and the number of credits earned.

Education development survey of students, scale 1–5
STUDENT SATISFACTION 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
Student guidance, undergraduates 3.5 3.5 3.8 3.0
Student guidance, postgraduates 3.6 3.7 4.1 3.0
AVOP feedback survey of graduating students, scale 1 to 7
Student guidance and planning of studies, undergraduates 5.1 5.2 5.3 4.5
Student guidance and planning of studies, postgraduates 5.3 5.4 5.6 4.5


The quality of teaching is grade A!

Xamk doesn’t leave you alone; you have access to facilities (even much more than you probably need) as well as support and guidance from teachers. Just come and study.


‘After choosing Finland as my study destination, I started to look for the university that would fit my requirements. I’ve done thorough research on all universities that offer IT programmes in English. Xamk turned out to be at the top of my list.’ Dmitrii Slepnev, student, Information Technology

Read the full interview with Dmitrii >


‘I wanted a place to study where I could develop my knowledge in the field of wellbeing to put it into good use in the future for myself and others.’ Julius Koskinen, Wellbeing Management BBA

Read the full interview with Julius >




Students’ opinions on their campus are monitored through surveys relating to wellbeing services, sports services and facilities.

¹Customer service survey, scale 1–5
²Sales register
³Student wellbeing statistics
2019 GOAL FOR 2021
Student wellbeing experts 4.2 4.3
Study counselling psychologists 4.2 4.3
Sports 3.8 4.0
Student wellbeing experts 4.0 4.3
Study counselling psychologists 4.0 4.3
Sports 3.8 4.0
Student wellbeing experts and study counselling psychologists, weekdays
40 15 14
AVOP feedback survey of graduating students, scale 1–7
Diverse learning environments have enhanced my learningi 4.8 4.8 5.0


Education. Livelihood. Climate. It is time to make decisions!

Student Union Kaakko arranged a panel discussion for parliamentary election candidates on 19 March 2019. Xamk campus towns Kouvola, Mikkeli, Savonlinna and Kotka are in the same electoral districts. Therefore, the discussion was broadcast live to each campus. The questions discussed concerned themes that were important for the student union, such as livelihood, funding and the climate.

The panel discussion was part of the supervision of students’ interests carried out by Student Union Kaakko. The electoral candidates on the panel were Laura Hämäläinen (Centre Party), Ma Ding (National Coalition Party), Jere Liikanen (Finns Party), Jouni Koskela (Christian Democrats of Finland), Anna-Kristiina Mikkonen (Social Democratic Party of Finland), Ville Puromäki (Seven Star Movement), Mari Parkkinen (Green League) and Joona Mielonen (Left Alliance).

One of the most important messages of the discussion was that everyone who wants to study must be provided equal access to education regardless of where you live and what your socioeconomic background is. The panellists were also asked to tell what they would study if they were Xamk students.

Election panellists answering students’ questions.


Students’ opinions on their campus are monitored through surveys relating to wellbeing services, sports services and facilities.

Statistics of Student Union Kaakko
Number of student tutors at Xamk 159 195 219
*Autumn 2018; no master’s programmes started in spring 2019.
Arrival survey of new undergraduates, response rate 74% 70.5% 59%
Arrival survey of new postgraduates, response rate 50% 43%∗ 57%
AVOT feedback survey of graduating students, response rate 95% 94% 99%
Equality and non-discrimination survey of students.
The survey was carried out for the first time in 2018.
Equality as experienced by students (mean value of 3 statements, scale 1–5) 4.05 4.43
Percentage of students who have experienced unequal treatment or discrimination 7.1% 8%

We work together

Co-operation with companies, alumni activities and communication play an important role at Xamk. In 2019, the number of co-operation projects with companies increased. The Emma Gala in Helsinki and the Housing Fair in Kouvola were the most important events in 2019 with respect to co-operation with companies. In November, a marketing and recruitment event for companies was arranged on campuses. In addition, companies are advertised on campus info screens and by naming classrooms after them. The Xamk Duuni service has helped students to find work placements and employment.

At year-end 2019, Xamk’s alumni register included 6,224 alumni. Xamk’s first meeting for all alumni was held in connection with the Emma Gala. Xamk publishes alumni stories on its website, and alumni have the opportunity to talk about their work and life on Xamk’s Instagram Story.

At Xamk, communication is more than just operational outputs. We focus on comprehensive organisational communication. This includes communicating to the media, exerting influence, defining workplace communication policies, marketing, providing communication forums and sponsoring. Communication and marketing professionals work in close co-operation.

The development of communication and revision of the communication culture require competence development, enthusiasm, time and support of the staff. Training events were arranged for experts in 2019, including training in the use of Twitter, videography and writing.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Co-operation with companies and alumni activities develop competence, Director of Education Seija Aalto, Communication Coordinator Heli Kauppinen and Business Partnership Coordinator Heta Vilén

Communication is part of everyday work, Head of Communication and Marketing Services Tiivi Pukkila-Nupponen


Results from monitored areas

Co-operation with companies

In 2019, we arranged a marketing and recruitment event targeted at companies on all Xamk campuses (Kouvola, Kotka, Mikkeli and Savonlinna). The event was arranged for the first time in 2018. On the basis of the feedback received, we arranged a one-day event this year. Altogether 55 companies participated in the event. Some of them were present on all four campuses.

The objective of the event was to connect companies with Xamk students and staff. For companies, the event provided the opportunity to advertise themselves among students and create contacts with future employees and the other participating companies.

An increasing number of Xamk students participate in co-operation projects with companies. In 2019, we carried out 282 projects with 272 different organisations.

The marketing and recruitment event in 2019 brought together companies and Xamk students and staff.


We monitor the responsibility of our co-operation through the development of our stakeholder and partner network, alumni network and workplace contacts.

¹Xamk’s alumni register (as of 2019, all graduates are automatically included in the register)
²Statistics of education in the Peppi system
³Statistics of RDI activities in the Hansa system
Number of alumni¹ 1,013 1,117 6,224
Credits earned by students from RDI activities² 53,014 53,749 52,874
Co-operation assignments in education³ 250 266 358


Taloustutkimus: Xamk has increased its awareness and appeal among potential students

According to the nationwide brand survey of higher education institutions carried out by the Taloustutkimus market research company, Xamk is the fifth best known and the eighth most appealing Finnish university of applied sciences among 17–29-year-olds. Xamk placed eleventh in the appeal of the fields of study, tenth in the standard of teaching and 18th in the appeal of its location.

Xamk surveys students’ willingness to recommend and monitors its own visibility in media. In the arrival survey 2019–2020, the willingness-to-recommend index was 27 for undergraduates, 34 for postgraduates and 46 for online students, the latter being a nearly excellent score.

Compared with 2018, Xamk has increased its visibility in media. In 2019, there were 1,773 media hits, an increase of 14 per cent from 2018.At the end of December 2019, Xamk had 25,900 followers on social media. This is the third highest number among Finnish universities of applied sciences.


Monitoring of communication and stakeholder participation in the development of operations.

1Statistics of Communication and Marketing Services
2Education development survey of students, scale 1–5
* The estimation scale has changed, the result is not comparable with the figures in 2017–2018.
COMMUNICATION 2017 2018 2019
Communication training for staff¹ 73 63
Efficiency of flow of information to students² 2.9 3.0 3.4*


We work for tomorrow

The education we provide as well as our research and development activities are increasingly attached to national and international networks that are formed between workplaces, business communities, different fields of study and RDI activities.

We are an important regional developer. Our international activities also promote development in our region. We participate actively in social dialogue.

We aim to train professionals with an entrepreneur spirit who find employment easily, possess skills that meet the needs of employers and are capable of adopting new skills and know-how and responding to future challenges. Students’ workplace skills are developed through pedagogic choices, paying attention to the learning process in addition to the output.

Best professionals for the job market

In 2019, Xamk revised the curricula of all degree programmes. The revision was based on future-oriented education as specified in the strategy, future needs of employers, opportunities to combine studies and work, flexible study paths and synergies between degree programmes. Companies, alumni and other stakeholders participated in the work.

The range of complementary competence studies offered by Xamk MasterSchool was updated in 2019 to better match Xamk’s strategy. In addition, we enhanced co-operation between teaching and workplaces also through teachers’ work placements.

Xamk helps all students to find a career that suits them best. Xamk graduates usually find a career in a managerial or supervisory job or work with customers or patients. Five years after graduation, most of them have a permanent full-time job.

The goals of education are primarily determined by the needs of employers. Co-operation and networks are systematically developed together with companies, students, staff, regional chambers of commerce and entrepreneurship societies. In 2019, Xamk had 1,441 partners in its register.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Future-oriented revision of curricula, Development Manager, Education Sini Taimela and Director of Education Administration Eeva Kuoppala

Xamk graduates find a career quickly, Director of Education Seija Aalto and Business Partnership Coordinator Heta Vilén


Results from monitored areas

Improving AI skills

One of the goals of Microsoft Finland’s Tulevaisuus Nyt (‘Future Now’) AI programme is to reinforce the artificial intelligence skills of Finns. Xamk was the first educational institution to pilot the programme with Microsoft Finland in spring 2019, by implementing the Tekoälytaitaja (‘AI master’) course of five credits.

A specific application process was arranged for students to participate in the piloting. The applicants were asked about their existing AI skills and their interest in the subject. Twenty-three students representing five degree programmes were admitted to the course. They had the opportunity to learn about AI solutions by completing Microsoft’s online modules and studying the AI solutions of Microsoft’s customer companies.

During the course, the students formed networks with the companies and proposed solutions for business development by means of AI in the company of their choice. The students had the opportunity to continue co-operation with the companies in the form of work placements or thesis projects.

In addition to basic AI skills and ethical questions, the participants studied data analytics, big data and the opportunities provided by AI for the development of business.


Monitoring of the development of curricula, teaching methods and learning environments. The satisfaction of students and graduates with teaching, learning environments, workplace contacts and counselling are measured through feedback surveys.

Education development survey of students, scale 1–5
Education section, mean value, undergraduates 3.2 3.3 3.7 3.0
Education section, mean value, postgraduates 3,7 3,6 3,9 3,0
Studying and working environments section, mean value, undergraduates 3.1 3.4 3.6 3.0
Studying and working environments section, mean value, postgraduates 3.4 3.7 4.0 3.0
AVOP feedback survey of graduating students, scale 1–7
Workplace contacts section, mean value, undergraduates 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.5
Workplace contacts section, mean value, postgraduates 4.5 5.3 5.3 4.5
Career services section, mean value, undergraduates 5.2 4.5 4.6
Career services section, mean value, postgraduates 4.0 4.8 4.1
Learning environments section, mean value, undergraduates 5.2 5.2 5.3 4,.5
Learning environments section, mean value, postgraduates 5.4 5.5 5.5 4.5


Xamk graduates find employment and stay in the region

According to the latest statistics, 42 per cent of Xamk graduates from Mikkeli and Savonlinna campuses in South Savo have found employment in this region. The respective figure for Kotka and Kouvola in the Kymenlaakso region is 54 per cent.

Xamk is present in two regions, providing a wide variety of opportunities for education and employment. Basically, secondary school graduates and vocational school graduates are eligible applicants. Xamk provides UAS graduates with excellent opportunities to pursue a master’s degree.

At Xamk, you can combine studying and working.


Monitoring of capacity for continuous learning, capacity to become an entrepreneur and networking with workplaces during studies.

Education development survey of students, scale 1–5
My studies include project assignments from employers, mean value for the statement, undergraduates 3.1 3.1 3.5
My studies include project assignments from employers, mean value for the statement, postgraduates 3.1 3.2 3.5
My studies promote an entrepreneurial attitude and entrepreneurship, mean value for the statement, undergraduates 2.9 2.9 3.1
My studies promote an entrepreneurial attitude and entrepreneurship, mean value for the statement, postgraduates 2.6 2.3 3.1
AVOP feedback survey of graduating students, scale 1–7
Workplace contacts section, mean value, undergraduates 4.5 4.5 4.6
Workplace contacts section, mean value, postgraduates 5.3 5.3 5.3
¹Statistics Finland
²Career follow-up survey
Employed after the year of graduation, % (includes entrepreneurs)¹ 85% 84.4%
Graduates in employment five years after graduation, %² 87% 86%
The content of my job corresponds to the education I received at the UAS, scale 1–6, mean value² 4.1 4.2
Graduates who have worked as an entrepreneur in the 5 years following graduation, %² 17%


We produce new knowledge and know-how

Xamk produces new knowledge and know-how through research, development and innovation (RDI) activities as well as open science and reserarch.

Through its RDI activities, Xamk actively aims to change South-East Finland’s development prospects and promote vitality in the region in co-operation with companies, municipalities and the third sector. RDI activities at XAMK increased for the fifth year in a row. In 2019, we had 259 ongoing projects. The most important RDI investment was the EUR 2.5 million laboratory completed in Savonlinna. In 2019, Xamk employees submitted five notifications of invention.

Xamk aims to actively communicate RDI activities and their results to the public. In 2019, Xamk earned a record number of publication points.

At Xamk, open science and research are based on the objectives set in our strategy and the principles of openness, as well as supporting an open research culture and strengthening the competence of our personnel.

In 2019, Xamk supported an open research culture through active participation in projects and various networks for open science and research. In addition, Xamk developed agreement templates, ethical guidelines, material management practices, etc. that meet the requirements of open science and research.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Effective research, development and innovation activities, RDI Director, Senior Executive Vice President Kalevi Niemi

Open science and research make knowledge accessible to everyone, Research Director Noora Talsi, Information Specialist Eeva-Maria Suojärvi and Project Manager Markus Häkkinen



Results from monitored areas

Safe oil spill response operations

Oil spill response is incredibly stressful both physically and mentally, and the working conditions set specific requirements for the employees’ health. In addition, chemical hazards in the working environment are a considerable health risk.

Xamk’s SÖKÖSuomenlahti project is developing an updated oil spill response training plan and compiling an oil spill response management manual for the Regional Fire and Rescue Services operating on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Occupational health and safety is the first priority in oil spill response operations. It is taken into account in the preparations, all case drills and the actual oil spill response work.

The goal is to prepare an information pack for those involved in oil spill response work on the safety risks and health effects of shore cleaning, as well as guidelines for the minimisation of risks and hazards. The project provides important information for oil spill preparedness purposes.

Voluntary oil spill response team rehearsing as part of the SÖKÖSaimaa project in Lappeenranta in 2018. Photo: Justiina Halonen.



Monitoring of the impact of project work and long-term co-operation with partners

RDI scorecard. Project volumes since 2019 (the year when the focus areas changed).
PROJECT WORK 2017 2018 2019
Project volumes in focus areas, EUR million
  • Digital economy
  • Sustainable wellbeing
  • Logistics, marine technology and transport
  • Forest, the environment and energy
RDI expenditure, EUR million
  • External RDI funding
12.0 14.3 15.4
  • Internal funding
RDI credits earned 4,669 7,143 4,566
Number of publications 424 442 510


Creative integrations lead to innovations

The cultural and creative sectors are among the powerhouses of European economic growth. In the EU, there are five times more people employed in these sectors than in the data communications sector. These sectors also interest young people: one fifth of employees are under 30. Furthermore, higher education plays an important role in the employment of cultural sector students.

The paradigm for value creation in creative sectors is the logic of the generation of immaterial value. It is no longer a question of labour-intensive processing industries and economic growth based on corporation tax revenue, but rather creative expertise which, as human capital, enables the development of new products and services and the management of the economic rights associated with them.

Read the abstract in UAS Journal >

The writer of the abstract, Petteri Ikonen, is Doctor of Arts, Dean and Director in the School of Business and Culture in Xamk


Monitoring of new companies in Xamk’s region and new business models

RDI scorecard
Number of startups and other new businesses 27 76 58
Notifications of invention 3 5 8
Patents and patent applications 1 2 1


Open research culture in South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

We promote a culture of open scientific research – Xamk’s strategy for 2018–2030.

South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences pursues an open research culture. We always aim to make the produced knowledge and competence visible and accessible in a controlled manner to everyone interested.

The open research culture concerns everyone at Xamk: researchers, project operators, teachers, students and other staff. The development of the open research culture is promoted by a working group consisting of representatives from research and development staff, library and information services and education.

Xamk has undertaken to apply the principles of openness to its publication activities. Xamk’s publication series are accessible to everyone in the Theseus repository. Xamk’s online magazines, Next and Read, are open access magazines.

Read about open research culture at Xamk >


Monitoring of open access publications, open research infrastructures and environments and opened RDI materials

Statistics on open science and research
Open accessibility of publications, % of all publications 82 86 87
Number of open research infrastructures and environments 25 28 24
Number of opened RDI materials 27 35

We deliver both local and international impact

Responsible regional impact at Xamk is based on the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and Xamk’s strategy. The task is realised through the education provided as well as research, development and innovation (RDI) activities.

Regional development is a task undertaken by Xamk in the Kymenlaakso and South Savo regions. In 2019, Xamk had 259 ongoing RDI projects, of which 55 were international projects. In addition, Xamk has nearly 30 research laboratories or environments that support the business communities of the regions.

Xamk’s degree programmes have a significant regional impact in South Savo and Kymenlaakso. In 2019, nearly 1,600 students graduated from bachelor’s programmes and over 200 from master’s programmes. Approximately half of them will find employment in our regions.

Xamk’s international co-operation network includes over 300 partner higher education institutions. In 2019, international students in degree programmes came from 70 different countries. The declining trend in student mobility continued, but personnel mobility continued to increase. Xamk launched product development processes for the export of education and invested in co-operation with China.

Open UAS studies were extremely popular at Xamk in 2019 in terms of the number of students and credits earned. The number of credits earned increased by 65 per cent. Open UAS is education in English and Russian was launched in 2019.

The extensive range of study opportunities available and flexible ways of studying provide everyone with the opportunity to update and expand their know-how. Online courses reach completely new groups of people, including international students. There is also high demand for continuing education provided by Xamk.

Read the performance analyses 2019 in Next!

Responsible regional impact, Principal Lecturer Marja-Liisa Neuvonen-Rauhala

Regional development in South-East Finland and internationally, Development Manager Hanna Kuninkaanniemi

International co-operation in student exchange and education, Head of International Affairs Marja-Liisa Kakkonen

Open University of Applied Sciences makes studies accessible to everyone, Director, Continuous Learning Pia-Mariana Toukkari



Results from monitored areas

Tell me about social inclusion of young immigrants

Xamk is currently leading numerous international projects. One of such projects is ‘TELL me about it’, ongoing at vocational colleges in Finland (Ekami, Kotka) and Sweden (Folkuniversitetet, Uppsala). Kotka and Uppsala are areas with a considerable immigrant population.

The project is targeted at young immigrants aged 16–29, and it aims at social inclusion by using cultural and citizenship education methods. The project organises workshops using cultural and artistic story-making processes as well as human rights and democracy games in Finland and Sweden.

Read more about TELL-project >


Monitoring of regional impact, service provision, open UAS and continuing education

1Statistics Finland
2Career follow-up survey,
3Xamk’s RDI scorecard, statistics of financial administration, statistics of Open UAS and continuing education
REGIONAL IMPACT 2017 2018 2019
Percentage of graduates employed in South Savo and Kymenlaakso within a year after graduation¹ 48% 49.4%
Where is your workplace or business located, % of respondents working in South Savo or Kymenlaakso 5 years after graduation² 43% 45%
Xamk’s investments in South Savo and Kymenlaakso, EUR million³ 2.9 2.3 1.4
Volume of RDI projects, EUR million³ 45.35 63.27 63.2
Number of RDI project partners³ 622 700 1,346
Number of RDI projects³ 163 222 259
Operating income, EUR million³ 5.4 5.8 5.7
Turnover from continuing education sales³ 682,569 536,118 375,819 54,230
Credits earned at Open UAS³ 21,650 27,286 46,044 32,500


Higher education institutions compete with each other for funding

´The number of higher education graduates should be increased, but there is no money available for this purpose. It is easy to understand that higher education institutions are disappointed.

For some years now, the funding of higher education institutions has been based on performance. The models are different for universities and universities of applied sciences, but the basic principles are similar: funding is earned by performance that satisfies the specified indicators.

The funding model forces higher education institutions to compete with each other. The institution must produce results that are rewarded by the model. A lot of such results. Very few institutions can afford to take strategic measures that are not in line with the requirements.

It is not possible to produce graduates without money. Teachers’ workload cannot be endlessly increased, and the responsibility for learning cannot be completely transferred to students. According to the current vision, over 50 per cent of young people in Finland should complete a higher education degree. This is a great national goal. The decision to increase the maximum number of degrees for which funding can be received is in line with this. Only one issue, the vexed question of money, still remains unresolved. If there is no money, the goal cannot be reached, and that is not the fault of the higher education institutions.´

A summary of the article written by Xamk’s CEO and President, Heikki Saastamoinen, published on 31 October 2019 on the blog of the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences Arene.



Monitoring of visibility in themes of discussion and activity of the management and experts in social debate

Statistics of Communication and Marketing Services
SOCIAL DEBATE 2017 2018 2019
Number of media releases 119 130 120
Number of media hits 1 063 1 566 1 773
Days of training for the management and opinion leaders 15 63


Factors influencing the choices of international applicants to Finnish universities of applied sciences

Due to the increasing internal and external competition for international students among higher education institutions, it has become necessary to identify the antecedent factors which motivate international students to apply to Finnish UASs.

The competition has further intensified due to the extensive offering by other media (such as MOOC courses, online programmes), the recent introduction of tuition fees in many programmes and the increasing opportunities available to international students globally. By identifying the factors that affect the decision of international students to apply to Finnish universities, we can design appropriate marketing programmes to attract and retain these students.

Read the full article by lecturer Jagat Kunwar
in the Next online magazine >




Monitoring of student and staff exchange, international RDI activities, co-operation in teaching and export of education

Statistics of International Services
International mobility of staff from and to Finland, days¹ 1,702 2,324 2,922
Credits earned through international co-operation in teaching
  • Outgoing exchange students, credits
11,642 9,007 6,690
  • Incoming exchange students, credits
5,245 6,177 5,771
Turnover from export of education, EUR 112,250 302,250 377,500
International degree students enrolled as attending 610 547 516
Number of international projects¹ 12 37 55


Social responsibility at Xamk

Olli Ervaala, Director of Education Services, Director of Sustainability
+358 44 702 8507,

Social Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2019

Published on 25 June 2020
More information:

Editorial team

Xamk, Communication and Marketing Services
Helmiteksti / Anita Heikkinen
Spell check: Xamk, Lecturer Anna-Liisa Luova


Marjut Loponen and Mike Bangle