Sign up as a mentor for the 2019 – 2020 programme!

The University of Helsinki group mentoring programme is starting again this autumn, and we are seeking new mentors. Mentoring is a valuable way of supporting students´ transition into working life and helping them to clarify their goals and ambitions. The students taking part in the programme come from different fields and phases of study. The group size is between 2-4 mentees.

You can sign up as a mentor here. We will contact the potential mentors at the end of September. More information on Sign up -page.

Several of our mentors have found the role of mentor so rewarding that they have taken part in the programme more than once. After the previous season of the group mentoring programme a stunning 100 % of the mentors recommended taking part in the mentoring process!

The programme starts with a kick-off for both mentors and mentees on Wednesday November 20th 2019 at 17-19 in Minerva Plaza (Minervatori). The closing will be held in May 2020. From November to May, the groups meet independently approximately once a month.

More information: Marja Peltomäki, (marja.peltomaki(at)

“Mentoring increased my confidence and optimism and developed my self-reflection skills” A successful conclusion to the group mentoring programme

The group mentoring programme, which began in late November 2018, concluded at Think Corner on a sunny day in May. The event marking the end of the programme on Tuesday, 21 May, provided the participants with opportunities for shared reflection and feedback. Before the next programme begins in autumn 2019, let’s take a moment to look back.

Actors gained confidence and practical insight

A total of 107 students from various faculties participated in the programme as actors. At the wrap-up session, they explained that the programme had, first and foremost, increased their confidence and trust in their skills:

  • “I gained confidence, learned about myself and became more curious about the job market.”
  • “I am now much more aware of my strengths, not just my weaknesses.”
  • “Mentoring increased my confidence and optimism and developed my self-reflection skills.”

Many of the actors also said that their optimism about the future and their confidence in their skills increased through, for example, peer support:

  • “Mentoring made me believe in myself and in (work-related) things turning out well when you put in an appropriate amount of effort.”
  • “Great conversations – I know I’m not alone in facing the challenges ahead!”
  • “Mentoring has made me more optimistic about the future.”

As in previous years, the mentors provided many practical tips for job-seeking and employment. Several actors decided to make the most of the advice offered, and some have already achieved concrete results, for example, in their job hunt.

  • “The hours you put in do not reflect your effectiveness.”
  • “During the programme, I found a traineeship, got a letter of recommendation and a job interview, and developed the confidence to try and contact people.”
  • “The mentoring gave me little practical tips concerning the culture of my field.”
  • “I’m now going to take the plunge and start looking for a job!”

Mentors also learned valuable lessons

At the wrap-up session, the mentors, all of whom were University of Helsinki alumni, had the opportunity to share their experiences not only with their group, but also with each other. Some of the 30 mentors who participated in the programme had also taken part in previous years. The mentors had many words of encouragement for their actors:

  • “Don’t be afraid of being yourself. You’ll do great!”
  • “Believe in yourself! Your knowledge and skills are not limited to what you have acquired through your degree.”
  • “Have dreams, make plans and follow them. There’s no limit to what you can achieve!”

At its best, mentoring is a two-way learning process. Accordingly, the mentors said that the process had clarified their thoughts and increased their self-knowledge.

As for the future of the programme, the mentors proposed that the University organise some kind of mentoring training before the actual programme begins. This feedback will be taken into account when planning the next programme. The mentors also wished that the University would engage its alumni more extensively in its activities.

  • “The University could also systematically use the professional experience of alumni in the form of a course.”
  • “The University should offer a course lasting throughout the degree programme and explaining the professional world to students.”

A comment on the development of career paths summarised the results of the mentoring programme:

  • “Everyone has a unique career path. Believe in your strengths and find your own path, don’t be afraid of detours or even the occasional step backward.”

A new programme to begin in autumn 2019

As of this autumn, the group mentoring programme will be offered for the ninth time. Prospective mentors who have graduated from one of the University of Helsinki faculties and currently work in various roles can submit their applications in August and September. Information on the application process will be provided through the University’s alumni channels and on this site.

Students can submit their applications later in the autumn, after information on the application process has been published in the group mentoring blog and Career Services’ communication channels. Career Services and Helsinki Alumni would like to thank all the mentors and actors for contributing to the success of the latest programme and wish them an inspiring summer!

Text and pictures: Miika Mertanen

News from the group mentoring programme for 2018–2019

The group mentoring programme for 2018–2019 has reached the halfway stage. The programme kick-off session in late November brought together a total of 30 mentors and more than 100 mentees at Think Corner. On 28 February, the mentors convened in the Teachers’ Lounge in Porthania to share their experiences so far.

The group mentoring programme started with a kick-off session at Think Corner on 20 November 2018. After the session was opened by Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta, director of development at the University of Helsinki, the mentoring groups attending the session mingled with each other and enthusiastically launched the six-month mentoring process. Three of the groups are working in English, one in Swedish and the remainder in Finnish.

As was the case last year, the kick-off session also provided the mentors and mentees with training on mentoring and insight into its potential. The training, led by Päivi Kupias (Tevere Oy), focused on the significance of targets, commitment and confidential interaction for successful mentoring. The session concluded with each of the groups drawing up a mentoring agreement, in which the members committed to the process and scheduled their first meetings.

An interim meeting of mentors in February

As February turned into March, the mentoring programme reached the halfway stage. To mark the occasion, the mentors were invited to a traditional interim meeting on 28 February to share their experiences. The mentors in attendance discussed the diverse approaches they had used and gave their thoughts on how the mentoring had gone so far.

The groups had discussed a wide range of career options as well as how to identify and rely on one’s strengths. Other issues the groups had addressed included the practicalities of job-seeking and the development of an “elevator pitch”. Some of the groups had visited companies, which sparked an enthusiastic response from the mentors.

Of the numerous themes raised at the interim meeting, those explored by several groups included students’ coping skills, confidence in one’s abilities and a wider view of career options. The challenges brought up by mentors included encouraging students to think of interesting career paths, although one group had found this easy. The mentors cited the opportunity of mentees to support each other as one of the pros of the programme’s group approach.

Group activities to continue until May

The group mentoring programme will continue until the end of May when the groups will meet for a final wrap-up session. Information on the application process for the next mentoring programme will be provided in the summer, and students will be able to apply in autumn 2019. More information will be posted on this page by June.