University of Turku mentoring programme attracted a record number of participants


Volunteer mentors and students gathered together on 12 June at the University's Turku School of Economics to celebrate the successful end of the mentoring programme for the past academic year. This was the 22nd year of the University's long-running mentoring programme. In the last two years, the programme has been organised in both Finnish and English. 

This academic year saw a record number of mentors and students participating in the mentoring programme – a total of 112 students and the same number of mentors. The increase was particularly high in the English-language programme, where the number of participants almost tripled compared to last year.

In the mentoring programme, mentoring pairs discuss practical issues related to professional life and current labour market topics. The mentors are alumni and other experienced professionals from different fields who want to support students in entering professional life. Mentoring is a popular way for alumni and other friends of the University to offer their time and expertise to support students. Students will gain tacit knowledge of their field from the mentors, which they can use in their transition to professional life.

Mentoring helps in building self-confidence and planning career paths

At the closing event at Mercatori, mentors and students who participated in the mentoring programme shared their experiences. Vesa Koskinen, Senior Specialist, Project Manager and Development Manager at Sirate Group Oy, who acted as a mentor in the Finnish-language programme, said that the mentoring experience provided an opportunity for self-reflection.

"Mentoring is suitable for anyone who wants to develop themselves and help students at the same time," Koskinen said.

Emilia Turves, a biology student who was mentored by Koskinen, said that the mentoring was very helpful.

“Mentoring has given me new confidence and a lot of topical information which has prepared me for professional life. Above all, I have gained networks that will definitely carry me forward, and which I believe will continue to expand," said Turves.

Customer Success Manager Marvin Tran from Vaadin, who was a mentor in the English-language programme, gave advice to future mentoring pairs and said that the programme had offered a great deal to him as well.

“For a mentoring relationship to succeed, both parties need to be genuine and understand each other. You also need to be open to new ideas and changes. It helps to create trust and a friendly atmosphere. It made me feel I was achieving something and helping at the same time. I saw myself in my mentee and recognised some of the challenges I went through during my studies. Supporting my mentee also gave me different perspectives into my own field," said Tran.

Tran’s mentee, student of Future Studies Charlotte Oertel was also pleased with the experience.

“Mentoring has given me confidence. As a foreigner in Finland, it great to be able to talk to someone with an international background, who has been working here for years, is experienced in the field, and who can give advice, and from whom I can learn at the same time. It was also useful that my mentor went through my job search process on a professional level and discussed my personal decision-making in terms of my overall development.”

In addition to the experiences of the mentoring pairs, the participants had a chance to enjoy a performance by the Opena Choir at the closing ceremony. 

Needs-oriented mentoring for all students

Anna Lagerroos, the Coordinator of the Finnish-language mentoring programme, decribes the programme as a ‘feel-good’ programme. From the Coordinator's point of view, it is nice to get positive feedback on successful mentoring pairings at the end of the programme. Mentoring pairs are formed so that the needs and wishes of the students are taken into account as extensively as possible.

“The mentoring programme gives students the opportunity to get a clearer picture of a job they are interested in as well as a personal mentor who is there to support them as they take their first steps into the professional life as a specialist in their field," says Lagerroos.

Ameya Foujdar, the Coordinator of the English-language mentoring programme, says that mentoring is a tool that complements the career development and networking of international students who want to build their careers in Finland or abroad. Navigating the labour market can sometimes be tricky, especially for international students, who have to build up their networks from scratch in a new and unfamiliar country.

“Many international students find their first, valuable local career contacts in Finland through our mentoring programme and get their first personal experience of Finnish professional life from an alum mentor or an expert in their field. This helps international students to build a meaningful career in Finland or abroad, according to their aspirations," says Foujdar. 

Created 02.07.2024 | Updated 02.07.2024