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For the past three years, the universities of applied sciences in the Helsinki metropolitan area have jointly planned and developed training and services intended for immigrants. This cooperation has involved Metropolia, Laurea , HAMK University of Applied Sciences and Lahti University of Applied Sciences. Funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the HERA Competence project is nearing completion and its results will be published in a seminar on 13 December 2012.
Immigrants' access to the Finnish labour market can sometimes be fraught with difficulty. In addition to challenges with the Finnish language, finding a job that corresponds to an immigrant’s education can be hard even if the applicant has completed a university degree abroad. In order to alleviate these problems, a number of universities of applied sciences have jointly designed preparatory courses for higher education studies, as well as language courses.
Most immigrants would like to learn to speak Finnish better because it improves their chances of finding work or gaining a study placement. The HERA Competence project has started its “Finnish as a second language” training intended for immigrants.
The language training was a useful opportunity for Sonia Perez Aleman. “After having been to a few ordinary Finnish language courses where I mostly studied official Finnish and grammar, on this course I wanted to learn and understand how Finns talk, write and behave in their daily lives, how they write different types of e-mails and job applications and what they see as important in Finnish culture”, says Aleman, who was pleased with the course’s practical content. “We made up our own texts and our opinions on texts. These tasks will be really useful in the future, because we write faster with each exercise and expand our vocabulary and understanding of the Finnish language”.
In addition to the preparatory studies and the language courses, the HERA Competence project has developed communications, marketing and help with applications offered by universities of applied sciences to immigrants. The project has also aimed at finding tailored ways of supporting students with an immigrant background who are starting an apprenticeship or searching for a job.
The concluding seminar of the HERA Competence project will be held on Thursday 13 December 2012, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., in the Metropolia building on Bulevardi 31 (Ballroom, 4th floor). The concluding seminar will deal with the training and services offered to immigrants in the Helsinki metropolitan area’s universities of applied sciences, discussing such topics as preparatory courses for higher education studies. The seminar will feature diverse speeches by experts and workshops.