Finnish universities’ career services collaboration has more than 20 years of history and it is showing no signs of slowing down. The university career and recruiting services were established as a result of the early 1990s depression. These services strived to improve universities’ capacity to support students’ and graduates’ employment and work skills. The services were funded by the Ministry of Education’s development financing and have always been marked by close co-operation between universities.
These new university services were student-oriented and emphasised employment and recruiting activities at the basic degree stage instead of providing simply further training for finding employment. Initially, the intention was to help fresh graduates find employment, which is why the services focused on themes related to job-hunting and collaboration with representatives of working life.
Over the years, the career services have expanded and now offer something for students at all study phases. At the same time, questions related to studying and progress of studies have become more common and co-operation between faculties, teachers and education developers has increased. Network-provided career services have also become an important part of universities’ co-operation with employers.
The Aarresaari network is founded on mutual understanding of the added value of co-operation. Aarresaari activities are included in career service employees’ usual duties and working hours. Networking does not just mean meetings and catching up with others. It is very practical work with common employment themes that support university students and personnel as well as employers and stakeholders, and services related to these themes.
2020 has been a very busy and bustling year for the Aarresaari network. As part of the reformed operations model, a part-time coordinator was hired in early 2020 to coordinate the network. Other reforms also took place this year: the university career services were updated and the network’s website was given a makeover. The network has helped universities tackle the challenges posed by the global pandemic, for example, regarding the practicalities of career counselling and internships.
As the chairperson of this network, I have been lucky to be at the heart of these reforms and work with motivated and skilled colleagues towards common goals. The goal to support students’ and graduates’ career skills and employment remains the driving force and inspiration of our work. I want to thank most warmly the dedicated and motivated people behind this network for the past year and their dedication and patience as well as their readiness to adapt even in this unusual time and under these unusual circumstances. I would also like to thank our partners who have collaborated with us and made active use of our services.
You can learn more about our network and career services on our new website https://aarresaari.net.
Service Manager, Tampere University Career Services
Chairperson of the Aarresaari Network 2020–2021