University of Oulu, 2017

Initiative to streamline work and career services

The University of Oulu has launched an initiative to enhance its services to students, enterprises and other parties engaged in career services.

Although the University of Oulu already offers a range of working life and ancillary student support services, until now work and career services have not been actively promoted. The aim is to address this issue through an internal development project with the objective of bringing together all information related to working life connections under one roof.

“Our aim is to establish a ‘one-stop shop’ in the vicinity of the Tellus Service Point with one career specialist who is responsible for coordinating working life services aimed at students, maintaining contacts with companies and communicating about upcoming work and career events,” reveals Hanna Maria Kotovaara, head of the Futures initiative.

Current career counselling services

At present, tutor teachers have the primary responsibility for offering career guidance for students. They discuss the progress of studies and future plans with students particularly from the perspective of the personal study plan (PSP). Students in need of more comprehensive or intensive career guidance, for example to analyse their personal competencies and motivations, can seek assistance from the University’s ancillary student support services team, which consist of two to three staff members.

“I am positive that streamlining services will improve students’ knowledge about working life in general and help them better recognise their opportunities. These days, dramatic career transitions are also common, and digitalisation is impacting all areas of working life,” says Kaisa Karhu, a member of the ancillary student support services team.

Good working life contacts are critical for students because the job search has changed considerably: up to 75% of open positions are no longer publicly advertised but are filled through personal connections. According to a survey carried out by the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland, up to 80% of those who find work immediately after graduation have established a relationship with the employer already during their studies.

The staff of the Futures initiative have noted that uncertainty about the future can slow down studies towards graduation. Once the possibilities become clearer, students are more determined to complete their studies.

Services for employers

The University also seeks to lower the threshold for enterprises and other employers to contact the University. Students are particularly interested in opportunities to write a commissioned thesis and in traineeship positions. The single access point and the career specialist position also aim to enhance addressing these needs. The career specialist position opens for application later this autumn.

“The goal of the reform is to make everyone’s work easier and to support tutor teachers in their work. The centralised services will also provide students with a single service point, for example, to seek support for their ideas or to organise events,” says Anne Sorvari, a member of the service design team.

The reformed work and career services will be launched at an event held at Tellus on 17 January 2019. The event will showcase new services offered by the University, as well as services provided by external partners.
The University also plans to establish a network for motivated staff members and students to discuss matters related to career services. To join the network, contact Hanna Maria Kotovaara.

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Last updated: 23.10.2018