“The mentoring programme was the highlight of the beginning of the year” – The group mentoring programme for 2021–2022 concludes

Group mentoring closing, group photo from Zoom
The closing event of the group mentoring programme was organised on Zoom.

Launched in November 2021, the 11th group mentoring programme concluded in May. The programme was based mostly on remote meetings. The next programme will begin in the autumn.

The 11th University of Helsinki group mentoring programme began in late November with a kick-off session organised remotely. The programme brought together 139 actors from almost all University faculties and 36 alumni–mentors from various sectors of society.

According to the coordinating team, among the programme’s strengths were the fully remote group activities. This can be seen as a positive aspect of the remote period. The remote groups also enabled alumni living elsewhere in Finland or even abroad to participate as mentors.

In the wrap-up session, students and mentors had another chance to share their experiences and engage in a final discussion with their fellow group members. They also exchanged comments and feedback, which we have compiled into the summary below. The coordination team would like to thank all mentors and actors for their participation!

Mentors’ comments on their experiences:

  • The young people provided me with new thoughts and ideas. I also found more energy for my own work!
  • I was really inspired and in a good mood after each meeting. Two of the actors succeeded in finding a job, and also we explored many experiences of working while studying.
  • The mentoring programme was definitely the highlight of the beginning of the year. First of all, it was interesting to meet current students whose reality is so different from mine in the 1980s.
  • I gained a new perspective on my work. Above all, I am now even more grateful than before for my job, which the actors said was evident. I completed all assignments with my actors, which helped me assess my own skills. I also received valuable feedback from the actors. In addition, the mentoring will support the development of a mentoring project tailored to a different target group in my workplace.
  • We shared the responsibility for each meeting between the actors. With each actor responsible for the practical arrangements of at least one meeting, the roles in the group were clear. The guidelines agreed at the beginning were also deemed important because they committed the participants to the process.
Grpup mentorin closing, picture of actor's presentation
The closing event featured a presentation about mentoring from an actor’s point of view.

Actors’ comments on their experiences:

  • We talked about the current work situation, how to handle daily work life challenges, how to prioritise tasks, how to prepare already for future job opportunities, where to look for job opportunities, LinkedIn profile building, CV writing.
  • I think my group is just perfect. We talked about the culture here, CV, competencies, LinkedIn, and many other things. Everyone can talk freely and it’s just like meeting friends. We had several remote meetings and met in person (and also hybrid). The remote meeting worked OK, but I still prefer meeting in person.
  • I thought everything worked well and would recommend this programme to anyone, so I only have positive things to say!
  • I gained clarity about my own skills, personal characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, field-specific skills, job-seeking, job interviews, master’s thesis opportunities and future prospects. I found all these to be very useful topics, and it was precisely because of them that I applied for the programme. We mostly met face-to-face, which made the meetings more successful.
  • It was a safe space to discuss worries and concerns about professional prospects after my degree. I received some good advice and encouragement.
  • I’ll take away greater self-knowledge and lots of peer-support! Next, I will try to put all I’ve learned into practice as I start a new job.
  • I take with me inspiration and more confidence to continue my studies and to search new jobs.
  • We learned how to recognise our skills and connect them to our experiences and interests and thus we gained confidence


Feedback helps develop programme from year to year

Mentoring is an interactive process, and each experience of mentoring is unique. Critique is also important and used to develop the programme each year.

Based on this year’s feedback, for example, the introductory and advance material used in the programme will be clarified so that the kick-off session can focus increasingly on launching collaborative group activities. The content of the collaborative sessions will also be made more engaging.

Communication between the coordination team, the mentors and the actors also plays an important role throughout the programme. To address challenging or difficult situations in good time, communication with participants will be increased, for instance, by collecting interim feedback.

The next programme begins in November 2022 – you can express your interest now!

The University of Helsinki will continue to organise the group mentoring programme, with the next programme scheduled to begin in November 2022. Mentors should be University of Helsinki alumni. Further information on the application process for new mentors will be provided through the Helsinki Alumni channels, but you can already express your interest in becoming a mentor. The official application form will open in August.

Alumni interested in mentoring can send an email to alumni(at)helsinki.fi.

Students will be able to apply for mentoring groups in autumn 2022. Information will be published on this website and in the Studies service.

Students can obtain further information on group mentoring from Career Services: careerservices(at)helsinki.fi.