The project is funded by European Social Fund Plus (ESF+). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland (coordinator), Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, North Karelia Municipal Education and Training Consortium, Savo Consortium for Education and Ylä-Savo Municipal Federation of Education.
The working-age population in Eastern Finland is expected to decrease to around 25% by 2030 due to retirements and other factors. The birth rate has fallen strongly in recent decades, leading to an acute shortage of workers in many sectors. The University of Eastern Finland plans to respond to the shortage of experts by tripling the number of foreign students by 2030. However, international students in educational institutions across Eastern Finland face great difficulties in finding internships and jobs. Many students would like to stay in the area after graduation, but half of them end up moving elsewhere in search of better employment opportunities. Job offerings and training programs must be aligned so that graduation leads to employment. Furthermore, workplaces, as well as official and leisure services, should operate multilingually to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.
UEF, Karelia, Savonia, Riveria, Sakky and YSAO aim to ensure that international students who come to our region find their place, secure employment, and integrate into Eastern Finland. We will help students get to know Finnish working life, build networks, learn the language, and find internships, jobs and business opportunities. Our goal is for international talent to feel at home and grow their roots in Eastern Finland.
We help employers identify the potential of international students and find a skilled workforce. We offer support and concrete tools for recruiting, onboarding, and learning Finnish at the workplace as well as adapting to the Finnish work culture. Our goal is to lower the threshold for hiring international talent and make it a natural part of organisations’ everyday operations.
Taking care of the vitality of Eastern Finland is our common concern. We need new perspectives, ideas, innovations and opportunities for cooperation. Our region will succeed when we involve everyone in building a common future. Our goal is a welcoming and inclusive Eastern Finland that offers work, livelihood and a good life to everyone living in the region.
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Below you will find short descriptions of the tools that are being designed to support international students on their path to employment.
MOOC Towards Working Life in Eastern Finland
With the help of the bilingual online course, international students strengthen their working life skills and learn to talk about their competence from the perspective of working life in Eastern Finland. We develop course sections for the needs of different fields and organise face-to-face classes and workshops.
Further information: Sami Tanskanen, UEF, email@example.com
Finnish language learning
We test different models that promote Finnish language learning in studies, internships, and work. We combine language learning with subject studies in cooperation between the subject teacher and the Finnish language teacher. We are developing the Kielikamu model during studies, in which students who speak Finnish help international students use the language in their everyday studies. We define job-specific language requirements to support practical training and offer personalised language support. We will launch language pilots in early 2024 and develop them annually based on the feedback received.
Further information: Virpi Moilanen, UEF, firstname.lastname@example.org
An annually recurring mentoring programme helps international students get to know Finnish working life and build their networks. The mentors are working life professionals from several different fields in Eastern Finland. Mentoring is carried out in small groups, which guarantees the opportunity to participate for as many international students as possible. The application process for students for mentoring starts yearly in early November, and the mentor groups begin meetings in January.
The company team offers employers an easy way to find experts from different fields at different levels of education, get to know international students and find a skilled workforce. The company team contacts companies and searches for student jobs (e.g. projects, theses, fairs, and events), internships and part-time jobs. The development of operations began in January 2024.
Developing the entrepreneurial path for international experts
Our goal is to increase the support provided by educational institutions, improve access to easy-to-read information and develop students’ entrepreneurial skills through personal guidance and entrepreneurship sparring, for example. We also offer support for entrepreneurs who have already started business operations in business management and development. Concrete services include the development of a virtual peer group, the provision of continuous learning services and group visits to participating companies.
Further information: Heikki Immonen, Karelia UAS, email@example.com
We develop and model activities aimed at graduates, such as the alumni ambassador model. We will assemble and pilot a peer support network for those responsible for graduating students’ affairs. The educational institutions communicate together about sector-specific services for graduates.
Further information: Outi Santaniemi, Karelia UAS, firstname.lastname@example.org
Solution-oriented study counselling
We look for the best and most efficient way for students from different educational and competence backgrounds to find employment with solution-oriented study counselling. The study and career counsellors of the educational institutions meet to solve an immigrant’s study path that is most likely to lead to employment. The first participants will be included in the service in 2024.
Further information: Juhani Lantto, Savo Vocational College, email@example.com
Recognition of professional competence
It is often challenging for an international expert to succeed in job searching because it is difficult to put one’s skills into words due to insufficient Finnish. Professional competence may remain hidden in a job interview if it cannot be communicated fluently. Recognition of professional competence indicates what kind of tasks and work environments the applicant can cope with independently and where he or she needs help. It distinguishes between work skills and Finnish language skills. The models of recognition of professional competence will be introduced in cooperation with the solution-oriented study counselling in 2024.
Further information: Pauliina Korhonen, Savo Vocational College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Below you will find more information about the services we develop to support employers in hiring international talent.
International students who have completed their degrees in Eastern Finland have significant employment potential that has not been fully utilised. The challenge is that students do not have enough connections to working life in Eastern Finland during their studies. Employment after graduation is difficult, especially for university graduates, and up to half of them move away from the area after graduation.
You as a working life professional can help us solve the problem – we need your expertise. Share your experience with future talent and become a mentor!
Mentoring provides the mentor with
- up-to-date information on higher education and the future workforce
- expansion of the professional network
- development of coaching and interaction skills
- new perspectives and the opportunity to learn about different cultures
- the opportunity to structure and mirror one’s skills and experience
Workplace instructor training
Our goal is to promote employers’ competence in onboarding and guidance of international employees. We want to lower the threshold for organisations to offer internships and jobs to international talents. We offer concrete tools and means for increasing language and cultural awareness and accepting diversity in the workplace.
Further information: Mirja Iskanius, Ylä-Savo Vocational College, email@example.com
Service model for employers
We support employers in their recruitment needs and in finding skilled workforce. We collect information on, for example, students graduating from different fields and applying for traineeships, as well as job seekers already in the area. We educate experts for sectors suffering from labour shortages. In addition, we provide information on forms of employment support.
Further information: Sari Väänänen, Savo Vocational College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marko PietiläInternational Relations CoordinatorDevelopment Services, University Services
Lasse ReijonenTraining SecretaryCentre for Continuous Learning
Soile RuotsalainenResearch TraineeSchool of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Philosophical Faculty
Päivi VestalaProject ManagerCentre for Continuous Learning
Virpi MoilanenTrainerCentre for Continuous Learning
Sanna IskaniusDirector of TrainingCentre for Continuous Learning
Hanna ReinikainenCareer CounsellorStudent and Learning Services, University Services
Senni PykäläinenCoordinatorCentre for Continuous Learning
Sami TanskanenProject CoordinatorSchool of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Philosophical Faculty
Tiina WemanCommunications specialistDevelopment Services, University Services