The mentoring programmes of the University of Turku support students’ transition into professional life and researchers’ and other staff members’ professional development. The University has mentoring programmes for Master's degree students who are about to graduate, young researchers, international staff and grant researchers who are aiming for a career outside academia, and other staff. Call for new mentors for the programmes is once again open during the autumn!
The main feature of the mentoring programme is the independent meetings of the mentoring pairs or groups, in which the mentors and actors discuss themes related to career, professional life, and the demands of the professional life in their field in relation to the goals of the actor, i.e. mentee. The actor’s goal can be developing their expertise, strengthening networks, clarifying their career plans, or developing their professional life skills.
– Mentoring gave me the professional support I needed, and I believe it will carry me for a long time. With the help of an encouraging mentor, I had the courage to aim for the next academic step I had been dreaming about, tells an actor from the early 2021 programme for other staff Jenna Saarni, who worked as a project worker when the programme begun and started her postgraduate studies in digital language studies in the Faculty of Humanities this autumn.
Mentor Shares Their Experience and Networks While Also Learning New Things
The mentors are alumni of the University of Turku and other volunteers who want to share their professional life expertise and professional networks. The mentor and his or her organisation can also benefit from the process in many ways. Through mentoring, the mentor can receive latest information about the research conducted at the University as well as the educational contents. The mentor can receive new outlook on his or her work and broaden his or her networks. The mentor also receives instructional and support materials, and the model of mentoring can also be applied in his or her own organisation.
– The most rewarding aspect was helping the actor forward on their professional path. I have had same types of considerations at certain points of my life, so it was easy and inspiring to encourage the actor. The process also made it clearer for me what kind of opportunities and challenges exist in my field from the point of view of a new graduate, and I can use this perspective in my teaching, says University Lecturer Kaisa Louramo, who was Jenna Saarni’s mentor.
I-Me-Pro Mentoring Programme Promotes International Talents’ Integration and Networking
The I-Me-Pro mentoring programme organised for the first time in 2021 furthers international talents’ integration and networking into Finnish professional life, familiarises them with the Finnish corporate culture and innovation environment, and helps them discover career opportunities. The I-Me-Pro mentoring programme will be carried out as a part of a project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture that supports the integration of international personnel in higher education institutions.
Doctoral Candidate of futures research Aleksej Nareiko who participated in the programme as an actor comments on the benefits of the programme:
– My mentor has been my “Finnish eyes”. She told me what Finns see and I compared it with what I saw, which helped me to learn how to see more. It is invaluable when you can trust someone local in a foreign country, says Nareiko.
Aleksej's mentor Sanna Ketonen-Oksi (futurist and post-doctoral researcher, Laurea University of Applied Sciences) tells that she has been a mentor before, and found it rewarding.
– For me, mentoring is about meeting new people and getting introduced to new ideas. About embracing diversity in thinking, learning from one another, says Ketonen-Oksi.
The mentoring programmes were awarded an honourable mention in spring 2021 for their significant actions for the University in the Intoa! Entrepreneurial Act of the Year competition.
You can sign up as a mentor in the programmes any time of the year. The application period for actors is from 10 September to 10 October for all other programmes except for the one for other staff, which can be applied to anytime.