During the past academic year, over 8,000 children, young people, and adults participated in the City of Oulu’s “Työn Taitajat” program. The program offered several interesting opportunities for school-working life cooperation, from working life lessons to job shadowing, and from the world’s largest virtual company visit to teacher seminars.
The goal of the Työn Taitajat program is to introduce working life and job opportunities in the Oulu region to young people during basic and upper secondary education, together with a wide network of working life actors.
The network already includes over 150 companies, organizations, and experts from various fields. Työn Taitajat organized various events with experiences for young people at the core.
– The best part of the job shadowing day was that I got to closely follow an expert’s day and discuss and exchange thoughts on topics of interest to me. My preconceptions about the profession I shadowed changed a lot. My opinions were listened to and taken into account during the day. The working life lessons are really inspiring, and it was great to hear different different career stories. My current dreams about my future profession were strengthened, says Alisa Heinonen from Kaukovainio school. Alisa did her work practice period at BusinessOulu within Työn Taitajat activities.
Picture: Juha Mattila, Pohde and Kaisa-Liisa Harjapää, Esko Systems.
Youth are there to Challenge Conventional Thinking
Työn Taitajat enables companies and organizations to influence young people’s choices in various ways and offers a platform to talk about their work. Working life lessons reach a larger group at once, thoughts are exchanged in a small group on job shadowing day, and at teacher events, information is shared with professionals who meet young people daily.
– Sharing my own career story was a good experience. It’s useful for young people to hear that a career can have different stages and that it’s rewarding with all its ups and downs. Above all, I hope that young people gain confidence in their own future choices from the working life lessons, comments Kaisa-Liisa Harjupää from Esko Systems.
Pekka Paurola from 1Bar urges us to listen to the young.
– Young people are very smart. Treat them as potential future employees. When I told my career and entrepreneurship story and had job shadowing in my company, I was surprised at how interested young people are in the industry and everything they have learned during the Työn Taitajat activities. They have and will have good questions that may even challenge some of our conventional thinking.
Second edition of the World’s Largest Virtual Company Visit
Työn Taitajat organized the world’s largest virtual company visit for the second time this May. This time the focus was on the tourism and restaurant industry in Oulu.
Five companies and two vocational institutions were involved. During the visit day, the industry was introduced to children from early childhood education to upper secondary and vocational schools as well as international talent. This year, over 3 600 children, young people and adults from various municipalities from Sodankylä to Espoo took part in the event.
– The collaboration and commitment of the actors involved was admirable and the feedback we received from the school world was very positive. There is a need for such low-threshold activities all over Finland, says Tiina Haapaniemi from BusinessOulu.
According to Pekka Paurola, participating in Työn Taitajat events is very beneficial – if not directly for one’s own company, then for the entire industry and its future.
Työn Taitajat continues to grow
One of the strengths of Työn Taitajat has been its simplicity for both schools and companies. Dozens of working life lessons, job shadowing days and other events have already been agreed upon for the coming academic year. The goal for the upcoming school year is to expand the program to include primary schools as well.
– With the help of the Työn Taitajat program, we can support the teaching staff in guiding young people. In some events, we influence the young people directly, and in others indirectly, by increasing the knowledge of the teaching staff. The working life is developing at a rapid pace, so we need to provide the tools for young people to navigate it, describes Eemeli Alanne, an advisory teacher from City of Oulu’s Educational and Cultural Services.