Think Career Trainee Programme got started at Minervatori

The Think Career Trainee Programme got started at Minervatori on January 17th.

Think Career Trainee Programme got started on January 17th at Minervatori with a Kick-Off -event. The theme for the event was “Towards a successful traineeship”. The participants were the Think Career – and other employers to whom traineeships were topical.

The Trainee Programme took interest of approximately twenty employer from different sectors of society.  The traineeships at the participating companies begun/will begin during the spring of 2019. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Student, apply for the Think Career -trainee placements!

Think Career -trainee placements have been published on the Trainee placements -page. These placements are only for the University of Helsinki students. There are two positions that don’t require Finnish language, so they are excellent for international students.

Check out more information about the trainee programme on the “For students” -page and find the placements on the Trainee Placements -page. On these pages you can also find the instructions on how to apply for the placements on Tiitus. Apply now!

Employers registration has begun

Think Career programme is a trainee programme for employers and students at the University of Helsinki.  It is aimed, in particular, at SMEs and organisations hiring their first trainee. The University provides the participating employers with support for marketing their traineeship position as well as recruiting and supervising a trainee.  The content of the program also takes into account the participants’ wishes.

Employers can register for the programme from 2 October to 2 November 2018. The traineeships will begin in spring 2019 based on employer needs. Read more about the traineeprogramme. Employer,  sign up!

Schedule of the programme:

1. Registration of employers in the programme in October 2018 (2.10.-2.11.2018)
2. Marketing of internships and student application deadline November-December 2018
3. Selection of trainees between December 2018 and January 2019
4. Kick-off event for trainee supervisors and trainees in January 2019 (date will be specified)
5. Traineeships will begin in January – April 2019

A vast array of multi-skilled experts in the reformed degree programmes

It is not always easy to recognise the full potential of students in working life, since the name of the degree programme does not necessarily provide any clues as to the real expertise and spectrum of skills provided by the studies. Moreover, various fields of education commonly give rise to expectations of certain kinds regarding professions or job descriptions. Especially when it comes to familiar degree programmes, these expectations may even end up limiting the ability to recognise field-specific potential. But what kind of competence do various fields offer that you do not necessarily even realise?

The degree education reform at the University of Helsinki has increased the focus on a working life perspective in the studies. University studies in general also develop skills useful in working life, such as project work and coordination skills, self-direction, communications skills and the capability of finding essential information even from large masses of text. There is a good reason to consider students multi-skilled experts, since field-specific knowledge and skills may also be applied flexibly in working life.

Familiar disciplines with fresh eyes

The Master’s Programme in Theology and Religious Studies is one of the traditional disciplines whose multi-skilled students may prove surprisingly useful in working life. In addition to traditional job descriptions, the degree programme addresses the needs of the changing world: the programme continues to provide education for priests and religion teachers, but students of the programme also find employment in the fields of the wellness industry, the music business, corporate consulting and communications.

“Theologians can be seen as interpreters of cultures and experts in interaction and encounters, while they also possess the competence to address themes related to values. This type of competence is needed, for example, in strategic planning, in the field of education and in various sectors of HR management,” say university teachers Maria Buchert and Aura Nortomaa. Theologians are capable of considering the question “What is a good life?” from a variety of perspectives as well as different value systems and spheres of life.

Students of geography are also trained in varied useful skills, such data collection, analysis and reporting. According to Katariina Kosonen, education officer for Geography, students’ other strengths include clear verbal and written output as well as the ability to present study outcomes visually.

“Geographers understand large processes and connections between issues, and as a part of a team, they may well be the ones to see the big picture. Many of our alumni have said it is really only after entering the world of work that they have understood how useful it is to possess a multifaceted understanding of the world,” says Kosonen.

New master’s degree programmes gather studies from various fields under one theme

The new master’s degree programmes have taken opportunities for multi-disciplinary studies to the next level by building degrees around a common theme while the studies may be offered by several different faculties. For example, the Master’s Programme in Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age combines linguistics with technology, while the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour focuses on human nutrition, for example, from physiological and social perspectives. This will make the comprehensive competence of graduates even more varied and wide-ranging.

One of these new multidisciplinary master’s programmes is the Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics, which gathers together studies from various faculties. The theme for the courses can be found in the name of the programme: Life sciences.

“Degree programme graduates are experts in algorithms, statistics and mathematic modelling, and they share a passion to apply these quantitative skills to life sciences.

This combination narrows the traditional gap between substance and method experts in the bio and health industries,” says Assistant Professor Matti Pirinen.

Like many other new master’s degree programmes, the teaching language of the Life Science Informatics programme is English, which reflects the programme’s international orientation both with regard to its study environment as well as its students. The courses in the multidisciplinary Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability are also mostly in English, and the programme actively promotes international cooperation. Students can select between study tracks focused on the natural sciences or social sciences.

“The programme educates experts in the environment and sustainability to meet the needs of the labour market. Depending on their choices, students’ knowledge and skills may vary from solid laboratory competence to wide-ranging economic expertise and from geographic information knowhow to, for example, knowledge of food systems. The common factor is the students’ ability to work on extensive and complex issues, which require that the knowledge of all possible parties is utilised,” says Riina Koivuranta, project coordinator for the master’s programme. She gives an example of the breadth of competence possessed by the students in the master’s programme:

“There may be a lab wizard sitting next to a humanities expert at a lecture, while an expert in environmental economics may be having a post-lecture cup of coffee with an expert in soil sciences engaged in fieldwork. What these professionals have in common is their focus on providing solutions, future orientation and networking skills as well as their ability to bring in other people’s competence when looking for solutions.”


Author: Anne Airisniemi

Trainees provide workplaces with fresh competence

Many small employers are wary of hiring university trainees. However, the competence provided by the students may be a positive surprise to the organisation and may lead to long-term employment contracts.

A traineeship is often a beneficial experience to the employer and student alike. Trainees may bring fresh competence, for example, to the communications and customer services at the workplace. Larger organisations run annual trainee programmes, but there is still a great deal of untapped potential in opportunities afforded by university traineeship programmes to SMEs.

­ “Trainees have introduced new and fresh perspectives into existing processes,” says Heidi Tukiainen from Verto Analytics, a company providing market research and digital media metrics. The company has employed an international student from the University of Helsinki as a trainee.

WordDive, a provider of language courses based on artificial intelligence, also has experience of the wide-ranging competence of trainees. Heidi Sharma from WordDive says that their experiences have been extremely positive.

“The trainee started producing professional and productive work very quickly after the orientation period,” says Sharma.

Concrete tasks and varied competence

Concrete work tasks for trainees, for example, in communications and marketing may include updating websites, social media communications or various reporting duties. In some workplaces, trainees may have clearly assigned collections of duties. For example, going through texts and translating them may be an option.

“Our trainee reviewed and updated our Italian teaching materials, which had not been done in quite a while, and also produced new courses for us,” says Sharma from WordDive.

In Verto Analytics, trainees have been included as members of a team from the very first day. When their competence develops, their responsibilities at work also increase. At a practical level, trainees have helped with social media and content production in addition to customer service.

“Trainee duties also included answering Google Play reviews and social media messages as well as producing content for campaign messages, newsletters and blogs,” says Tukiainen.

At best, giving trainees more varied responsibilities may lead to longer term employment. At WordDive, the trainee returned to the team the next summer and has continued as a full-time employee. Verto Analytics has also become aware of this opportunity.

“In addition to having the opportunity to get to know people at the start of their professional careers, hiring a trainee provides us with a chance to find suitable and competent people, who can continue in the company after their graduation,” says Tukiainen.

An affordable and easy way to get to know a new employee

Orienting trainees with the workplace and practices takes its time, but it will pay for itself. Sharma says that the amount of support depends on the individual, while the amount of guidance required may also depend on the industry and the duties. According to both companies trainees are provided the same orientation with the work processes and duties as any new employees.

“Guidance requires dialogue and monitoring the development of the trainees as well as help and advice in issues related to the duties,” says Tukiainen.

Some trainees may well be ready for both independent and team work. This was the case, for example, at WordDive.

“Teaching material projects are large and demanding and they require input from several people, very good language skills, good team work capability, creativity, and pedagogical competence,” says Sharma.

According to feedback received by the University, experiences of traineeships are very positive and many companies end up employing new trainees. Sharma considers traineeships an affordable and easy way to be ensured of the suitability of a new employee with the work and the team.

“We definitely recommend hiring a trainee!” says Tukiainen.


Author: Miika Mertanen

The University of Helsinki to launch the Think Career trainee programme

The Helsinki University Career Services will launch the Think Career trainee programme in spring 2019. The aim of the programme is to find new traineeship opportunities for University students and promote the University’s cooperation with SMEs and organisations. Employers can register for the programme as of October 2018.

The Think Career trainee programme organised by the University of Helsinki’s Career Services is intended for employers and students. The programme is aimed, in particular, at small companies and organisations hiring their first trainee. The University provides the participating employers with support for marketing their traineeship position as well as recruiting and supervising a trainee. The wishes of the programme participants will also be taken into account.

Turning a traineeship into permanent job

The majority of University of Helsinki students complete a traineeship as part of their studies. Traineeships link students’ theoretical studies to real-world work situations and offer students the opportunity to gain relevant work experience in their field of study. A well-planned traineeship benefits not only the trainee, but also the employer. The Apropos Lingua translation agency hired a trainee who later became a permanent part of the team.

Coordinator Vitali Rabotsev of Apropos Lingua is happy with his company’s traineeship cooperation with the University of Helsinki. He says that hiring a trainee was a cost-effective way to recruit and train a new permanent employee. Apropos Lingua hired a University of Helsinki translation student as a trainee to assist in the coordination of translation work.

–In practice, we had four months to develop the trainee into exactly the professional we needed. And we did it at a relatively low cost, Rabotsev adds.

CEO Jouko Väärälä of Green Cap Tours, which organises city tours of Helsinki, also recommends that companies hire an academic trainee. Green Cap Tours offered a three-month full-time traineeship to a history student, who had previously worked as a part-time guide for the company.

–University students are smart and capable of learning, and they are usually able to work persistently and systematically. Although you learn on the job, these qualities support learning, Väärälä notes.

The orientation of a trainee takes time, but benefits the whole company

The first time a company hires a trainee, it should prepare for the trainee’s arrival and allocate sufficient time for orientation.

Both Vitali Rabotsev and Jouko Väärälä emphasise that the orientation and supervision of a trainee takes a great deal of time from other staff. But Rabotsev points out that the time invested in the orientation pays off in the long run. From the outset, Apropos Lingua’s goal was for the trainee to remain at the company after the traineeship.

The time spent providing orientation to the trainee can, at best, benefit the organisation of operations at the company as a whole. Rabotsev says that his company’s practices had to be carefully and comprehensively explored ahead of the orientation. The review of processes also revealed some room for improvement in the company’s operations and enabled the company to focus even more on its main business, i.e., translation.

Jouko Väärälä of Green Cap Tours is also familiar with this phenomenon.

–A new team member meant that we had to improve our internal communications and generally clarify our operations..

A permanent contract as the shared goal

At its best, a traineeship may lead to a permanent employment relationship.

Both Apropos Lingua and Green Cap Tours hired their trainees as part-time employees after the traineeships ended.

The student who began as a trainee at Apropos Lingua will work on a part-time basis until graduation and will then conclude a permanent contract with the company. Rabotsev explains that the purpose of the arrangement is to encourage the student to both graduate as soon as possible and gain relevant work experience with no hindrance to their studies.

Author: Lotta Viljamaa