Background and study aim

The need for developing professional competences throughout a working career is widely acknowledged. However, there is lack of effective methods supporting employees’ motivation to life-long learning and occupational skill development. The main goal of this study was to examine the efficacy of a peer group-based training intervention focusing on employees’ competence development management in the mid-career.


The data were collected in a randomly assigned field experimental study (RCT) between 2017 and 2018 among 1119 individuals. The participants were recruited from a student register of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and from members of the Union of Professional Engineers. The mean age of participants was 49 years. The training lasted 16 hours and included web-based assignments, self-learning, group meetings and an employer interview.


The results of regression analyses showed that the intervention was effective in increasing participants’ competence development management immediately after the intervention. Moreover, the probability to participate in a tertiary education 12 months after the intervention was almost twofold among intervention group participants than among control group participants (19 % intervention vs. 11 % control group).


Skill for work training program could be used in universities of applied sciences or other educational institutions as a program for developing preparedness for continuous learning in the mid-career, and also at workplaces as change security.