This post is adapted from an earlier article in the online magazine ‘Ostrobothnia in English‘ written at the end of April 2015.
In a recent episode of my podcast, the Explore Finland Radio Show, I visited Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK). It was interesting to speak to a couple of international students who had travelled to Finland to study, either short-term or an entire degree course. Hearing their experiences of moving to Finland, it was good to compare and contrast with my own.
It also gave me some time to think and consider their thoughts, alongside one or two experiences from Xport. Before Christmas 2014, we were approached by Lien Tran, who had graduated from Seinäjoki UAS three years ago and has found it difficult to find a permanent job since then. She approached Xport to ask if she could do a Työkokeilu (work placement) for a few months.
As a small, new company we don’t have huge resources but this gave us an opportunity to work with somebody, and see how things might work. It worked rather well. Lien’s been with us for three months and has been a real asset to the company already.
This makes me wonder know how many other international students are struggling to find work after graduating, not just in the Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia) region, but around Finland in general. It seems this is a similar story when it comes to intern placements as well. As part of their degree courses, students are required to undertake a period of work experience, approx. five months, and they’re finding it difficult to find suitable positions.
We have had three interns working at Xport during the last year and each one brought different skills to the company, this is both international students and Finnish students. It is a resource about which more companies in Pohjanmaa should be open-minded; consider what an international student could bring to your company. Don’t think of it as an inconvenience, as something that might create a bit more work for you. It’s more likely that if you give people an opportunity that they will be a benefit to your company. Why not use it as an opportunity to work on a project that just hasn’t previously had the time or resources? That what we’ve done at Xport.
The flow of students the resources that the colleges and universities are generating, is a resource for the business community, let’s not waste it! We all contribute taxes that help pay for University courses, so why not make use of it and reap the rewards from these students and graduates? One final consideration, one day these young students may have a business of their own, and they will already be in your network – who knows what opportunities that might bring to your company in the future?
Since this article was originally published, Lien has completed her three month work placement and has been offered a permanent position at Xport. There was no vacancy, Xport was not recruiting, but having worked with Lien for 12 weeks, we decided that she is an asset that we want to keep. Makes you think, right?