International students’ employability has been in TYY International’s agenda throughout this year. TYY has been involved in Polku project as well as in SYL’s employability of international students project. First of annual Working in Finland events took place in February and second one is coming up in December. In addition, to improve contacts with work life, TYY encourages international students to attend company visits.
International students face various challenges during their studies. It is paradoxical that one can basically get a degree without knowing any Finnish but on the other hand, finding job requires some Finnish skills and useful networks that are difficult to obtain in short study time. Due to tuition fees for non EU/EEA citizens starting from autumn 2017, the programmes will be even more packed and time will tell whether there is enough time for Finnish studies and work experience before graduating. TYY demands that University’s degree programmes will take this seriously and include Finnish courses in all programmes so that students are supplied with tools for better employment.
TYY started “International Company visits” already in 2015. Due to positive feedback and Student Union Council’s wishes, TYY International has taken international students’ employability issues as part of its continuous activities. Visits do not offer magic tricks to employability but they are practical way to strengthen international students’ opportunities to get familiar with local companies and ask them anything about employability. Change in work culture of Finnish companies is slow but TYY International wants to be involved.
Stop fearing the failure, especially when learning Finnish
First visits took place in Boost and Opteam. Boost’s Community Manager Juha-Matti Santala gave motivational speech about the importance of teamwork, working with people from different kinds of backgrounds and how to see failure as an opportunity. Through Boost students can get working experience and build necessary networks. Most important is to forget prejudices that Boost is only for business or IT students. After the presentation students could brainstorm their own business ideas in groups.
The following day Business Manager Johanna Tanskanen from Opteam presented Opteam and gave employability tips to the students. According to Tanskanen, Finnish is still important language in working life, even if the work itself would not require Finnish. There might be companies in Helsinki area that accept students and graduates who do not know Finnish but Turku’s internationality is slowly following behind. Of course if student poses very rare talent such as in IT field, he/she can also find job without Finnish skills. However, it is always better to play it safe with language investments.
Tanskanen suggest to start from low ladder and climb up little by little. Even Finnish university students work first as cleaners and in restaurants before they find “real job” that is more responding their career and skills. As economic uncertainty has showed in the past years, in most fields, degree in higher education does not guarantee job - even for Finnish students.
If student starts to study Finnish from the arrival, he/she will have better opportunities to survive in the job interview. It is also a good idea to specify language skills on CV. One might be better in speaking and understanding than in writing and employers might not understand “The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. Employers do not require perfect Finnish skills but according to Tanskanen “when you get through the interview in Finnish, you’re fine”.
TYY International wants to be involved with improving connections between local employers and international students. TYY International thanks all the companies for welcoming attitude and international students for active participation during the visits.
More employment visits coming up!
TYY International is making at least 2 more visits this semester. On 30 November we visit Public employment and business services and on 9 December Lindorff.