Supporting the employability of international graduates – join the UH International Alumni Network!

One of the hottest topics in Finland currently concerns internationalization. Attracting international talents and integrating them into the labour market and society at large is a key issue and the focus of many strategies. The University of Helsinki (UH) has offered Master’s Degree Programmes in English for a decade already, so we are very aware of the great potential of our international talents. The Career Services at UH have offered support with employability issues throughout the years (see blog)

But what more can UH do to support international students and alumni in building a career in Finland?  We know that one major hindering factor in the job search is the lack of relevant networks in the local society. Information shared through professional networks is essential when integrating into the labour market. Furthermore, we also want our alumni to keep in touch with us after graduating!

With this in mind, we met up with a group of graduates some weeks ago and decided to establish the University of Helsinki international alumni network. The aim of the network is to provide opportunities for students and alumni to meet, to share information and experiences as well as to take part in different activities. Read more about the Alumni Association and what membership entails.

The first get together is set for 22nd March at 5 pm. We will start with a general meeting where we develop the International Alumni Network and upcoming events for this spring and autumn. You are warmly welcome to participate and give your ideas and input! After the meeting alumni and students have an opportunity to network with other alumni at an event organized by the Alumni Association.

Registration for both events is mandatory. The link to registering is found on the event page.

For more information, please contact:

Career Services
Anna Storgårds
careerguidance@helsinki.fi,
02941 28492

Alumni Association
Pia Österman
alumniyhdistys@helsinki.fi
029 412 4494

 

 

 

Supporting the employability of international students from the perspective of Career services at the University of Helsinki

 

 

 

 

The University of Helsinki (UH) is currently in the process of renewing all its degree programmes.  Already for a number of years there have been several Master’s Degree Programmes available in English. Starting next academic year (2017-18) there will be a new set of programmes on offer by the faculties. The biggest difference compared to earlier years will be the introduction of fees to non-EU students. As a result of current developments together with years of experience, UH is stepping up its services provided to international students. The aim is to improve the support offered to students both inside and outside the university; from student services to different housing options, leisure activities and information on local culture.

As students arrive in Finland and start settling in, they are naturally eager to find employment. They will also be searching for trainee positions during their studies, as work experience from one’s own field is extremely valuable for career development. Many also wish to stay after graduating. Some succeed in finding their place in the labour market, others don’t. Research shows clearly that one of the biggest challenges for international students settling in Finland is related particularly to finding employment and how open the new host country appears to them.

One challenge is the lack of contacts with employers and society. Also language skills is a factor the students mention as limiting their job search. When moving to a new country, students do not have the networks and connections which could help them in their job hunting. There is a lot to learn about how the local labour market works. At the Career Services of the UH the employability of international students has been on the agenda for a long time. As an example, in 2009 the VALOA-project brought together the Career Services at UH with 19 other universities, city councils and entrepreneur organizations in creating a framework to support the employability of international students (find out more at studentintegration).

What else do we do for our international students at Career Services? In a nutshell, we meet with them on a regular basis, supporting their career planning and job hunting processes. We offer individual career counselling, we teach these topics in our own courses as well as take part in work life oriented courses offered by the different degree programmes. We organize job hunting info sessions and CV workshops as well as meetings with alumni.

The latest development is the UH Career Forum group on Facebook.  We invite everybody to join who is interested in supporting the employability of international students: students themselves, alumni, UH staff, representatives from the labour market and so on. The UH Career Forum is an informal meeting place where information and best practices can be shared, and it is a platform through which networks can be built. Jobs and traineeship positions will still be announced in Rekrynet and in Flamma, UH’s intranet.

UH Career Forum

 

Text by:
Anna Storgårds, career counsellor