Nordic Perspective Series: Education students sightseeing the world of work
With the Duunisafari concept, students of education can take a peek at what kinds of places they may end up working in with their qualifications. Learning about different workplaces expands the students' view of the world of work and creates new networks.
In what kind of places could I work after my studies? Many university students wonder about this, as the world of work may seem distant in the middle of theoretical studies.
The workplace project Duunisafari rises to the challenge with the aim to create new links between education students or graduates and the world of work.
“The aim of the Duunisafari concept is to raise awareness of the world of work among education students and alumni, and to show concretely where those with a degree in education can find employment and end up with their qualifications. The field of work tasks is very broad,” says Elina Koski, student of education at the University of Turku, member of the Duunisafari committee.
Duunisafari offers concrete experience in the world of work by sending the student at the workplace of an education graduate for a few days to see how they work.
The concept was originally developed by the University of Helsinki's Aikuiskasvatuksen Kilta (Guild of Adult Education), from which it was adopted at the University of Turku.
“At the University of Turku, you can study three major subjects in education: general education, adult education and special pedagogy. Our students can also familiarise themselves with the jobs of those who had a different major subject in connection with Duunisafari. This means that they can gain a more extensive understanding of the employment opportunities of education students,” Elina Koski explains.
New ideas, experiences and networks
In practice, any education student at the University of Turku can apply to explore Duunisafari workplaces. The workplaces include different organisations in which former students have found employment.
Graduates in education may work in private companies, organisations and municipalities, for instance. Typical job descriptions for those with these qualifications may include education coordinator, HR specialist, HR manager, head of education division or special needs teacher.
“Students are not required to have any specific competences to participate in Duunisafari. An interest in the world of work is enough,” Elina Koski explains.
The application process for Duunisafari takes place with a registration form twice a year, in spring and autumn. The visitors, “the safari-goers”, are then selected by drawing lots.
Once the student receives a notification of their participation in Duunisafari, they must contact a mentor at a workplace.
“Mentors are people working at workplaces. They usually have a degree in education and have graduated from the University of Turku or another university, so they are alumni. The workplace trial lasts for one to three days, depending on the workplace. The aim is not to work for an organisation, but rather to offer both students and employers new ideas, experiences and perspectives as well as networks with professionals in their own field.”
“You could compare Duunisafari to introduction to working life that other young people also do. You can also discuss your own career dreams with the mentor, among other things. You can participate in work tasks at the workplace if you have the opportunity to do so,” Elina Koski says.
Results may include work or internship
Employers also participate in Duunisafari on a voluntary basis. According to Koski, the concept has received good feedback from employers, mentors and safari-goers alike. In some cases, the trial has resulted in a work placement.
“Even if it does not result in a job, it is very important for the student to create contacts in the world of work and to be able to create networks in different directions from the first year of studies, especially if they are studying such a general field as education where you do not graduate in a certain profession,” Koski says.
“In general, universities should emphasise connections with the world of work more. Fortunately, it is becoming more and more common.”
At the University of Turku, the Duunisafari activities are run by a committee working under Katko ry, the student organisation for students of educational sciences. According to Koski, the committee work teaches the students a lot about the world of work too.
“Guidance could be your thing”
One of those who have tried Duunisafari is Emma Virta, student of general education.
Virta applied to Duunisafari because she is still unsure of what she wants to do after her studies. The odds were in her favour, and she chose a company providing training services. Virta spent three workdays there with a mentor.
“I familiarised myself with a career coach's work and we also discussed general matters related to the position and its requirements. I also participated in a private client meeting and a career coaching group, in which various aspects of job-seeking were discussed with clients,” Virta explains.
Virta was also able to guide and help the career coaching customers herself.
“I had a very good mentor who had planned our workdays so that I could experience as many different aspects of work as possible.”
Emma Virta feels that Duunisafari is a useful way to see what kind of a field would be suitable.
“In the past, I was not even very aware of how career coaching is organised. The trial shed light on the fact that some kind of guidance work could suit me nicely and be my thing. In that sense, the experience was very valuable.”
After the Duunisafari days, Virta has also done a short substitute gig for the company.
“I got to lead an entire day of training. It was exciting, but very useful. It felt good to be trusted.”