Oulu’s talent pool within the ICT sector is truly unique, with thousands of dynamic and skilled professionals. One of the evergreen challenges that the cluster faces is ensuring this high quality is maintained. Additionally, this means ensuring that there are opportunities to bring in new faces for the future, especially as the next generation of coders and programmers progress through the education system.
Formalising the arranging of workplace visits for students
KoKiVa, a new project from the University of Oulu, accompanied with the City of Oulu, aims to formalise the process of arranging workplace visits for upper secondary school students and further develop the interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculty of Education and the local ICT company stack. With the introduction of a new online platform, it aims to allow more groups to enter (physically or virtually) the workplaces in a more simpler, flexible and efficient way.
The key aim of these visits is to show to young people the possibilities of work within the ICT sector off the back of these visits. By seeing how local businesses within the sector operate, they gain an understanding of the qualities needed for roles like software developers and data architects. Additionally, they can judge whether they think that this would be a viable career path for them based on what their strengths are in their own studies.
Placing skills into a workplace context
Whilst the idea of trips to workplaces for students is nothing new, one goal of KoKiVa is to examine how effective they are and how they cover the whole student population. Although schools in Oulu have advanced collaboration practices with the ICT sector, students often claim that the interface from secondary studies to work life is still too narrow, and the connection between the subjects and topics studied at school to work life is quite vague.
Moreover, the online platform adds value to existing visiting practices by allowing its expansion. Currently the study visits are coordinated with school counselors with their limited time resources. KoKiVa attempts to create a platform that would become a handy tool also for the subject teachers, who could use it as a motivational purpose by easily showing some work environments where the subjects are used.
The idea is, that in the future, more and more students would become exposed to different work fields and familiarise themselves with the skillsets and qualifications that contemporary work life needs. As the world of work life keeps changing at an accelerating pace, there needs to be new ways to stay on its pulse and open the minds of youngsters, even towards such fields they may not be aware of yet.
For ensuring the quality of the visits, KoKiVa develops training packages for companies, teachers and guidance counselors. These are given in order to thoroughly plan, implement and evaluate these visits.
Alleviating the guiding influence of gender
Most importantly, KoKiVa aims to encourage young people to choose their educational and career paths based on their personal strengths and interests, and to find ways to alleviate the guiding influence of gender. Within the pilot phase of the project, two gender-biased work fields – ICT and education – have been chosen as sectors to develop the platform and the training model.
As a summary, the key goals of KoKiVa are to:
- Develop the quality of working life visits;
- Assess their functionality;
- Reduce gender-based differentiation of working and educational careers.
KoKiVa warmly invites the work life partners to jointly develop the new tool and model for a better combining of the needs of work life, schools and the students as well.
Want to learn more?
You can send an email by using firstname.lastname@example.org to:
- Hanni Muukkonen, Professor in Educational Psychology
- Jenni Kunnari, Doctoral Researcher and Project Manager
- Satu Kaleva, Doctoral Researcher and Advisor
Addtionally, you can also contact Käti Säkkinen, Project Manager (City of Oulu), by using email@example.com.
You can also find more information on the University of Oulu website.