Vesa Saarikoski has since 2011 been the CEO of Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia, the largest consortium providing upper secondary education in Finland. Saarikoski is also the government appointed Chairman of the Evaluation Council of the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) and a board member of the Finnish Association for the Development of Vocational Education and Training (AMKE).
Previously Saarikoski worked as Rector of University of Applied Sciences in Joensuu in Eastern Finland. He has served as Professor of Contemporary History and in several other academic and administrative positions at the University of Turku, where in the Faculty of Social Sciences he holds a position of Adjunct Professor. Between 1996-2005, he was in charge of three research projects of the Academy of Finland, and 2010-2011 Saarikoski acted as the President of the Rectors’ Conference of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (Arene).