New Metropolia Trainee Programme prepares international students for Finnish working life

3.6.2024 - 09:51

Metropolia Trainee Programme not only offers a traineeship for international students, but also a great way to learn about Finnish working culture, plan own career and practise Finnish language in real-life situations. The aim is to make it easier for international students to find jobs in their field in Finland in the future.

Trainees Darja Kononova and Fayez Bassalat.
Trainees Darja Kononova and Fayez Bassalat in Garage, Metropolia's robotics platform.

In Metropolia Trainee Programme, Metropolia aims to ease both the employment of international students and the skills shortage in the Finnish labour market by building up business cooperation and more direct routes to work. Supporting the employment of highly qualified international talents helps students to integrate and stay in the Finnish labour market after graduation.

The Metropolia Trainee Programme is a full-time, fixed-term, paid work placement in one's own field. In the programme, the trainee gets support for Finnish language learning and receives study credits. Trainees gain experience of a Finnish working culture, which supports their integration into Finnish working life. The traineeship includes an orientation period, tasks in the trainee's own field in the trainee unit, Finnish language coaching and career coaching on topics such as the Finnish labour market, networking and naming ones’ skills. At the end of the traineeship, the trainee will receive a written work certificate. In the past, Metropolia's different units have been able to offer individual internships, but there has been no coordinated internship programme with language support and career coaching.

"The aim of the trainee programme is to increase international students' opportunities to find their place in Finnish working life, enhance their expertise and improve their Finnish language skills", says Anu Luoma, International Services Specialist at Metropolia.

The programme is being piloted this spring and will continue next autumn. Five international student trainees will work at Metropolia in both semesters. Metropolia's international degree students who have a valid study permit and at least 10 credits of Finnish language studies can apply for the trainee programme.

Darja Kononova looks forward to working in her passion field in Finland

Darja Kononova is in her third year at Metropolia studying International Business and Logistics in English, majoring in Marketing. She moved to Finland from Lithuania in 2018.

"I applied to study this field at Metropolia because of my deep interest in international environment and marketing," says Kononova.

This spring, Kononova participated in the Metropolia Trainee Programme in the Business Administration Department. Her job description included producing content on social media, tracking analytics, producing events and other marketing and communications activities.

She applied to the programme because she wanted to learn Finnish for her future career and because the job description offered marketing tasks.

"This internship offered useful things that I'm interested in doing regarding my future career. I wanted to develop my Finnish language skills because in Finland, Finnish is used more than English in the workplaces. In marketing, I am interested in creativity and fast-paced work and the fact that marketing is basically about understanding people and their needs. Every day is different”, says Kononova.

Kononova says that during her internship, she has learned practical things about programs that are used in the workplace and rules of the working life. She has also learned that what matters to her is her passion for the job.

"I am a student at Metropolia myself, and because of that I have a passion for this university. It's great to work on a passion subject and to help make it visible to other people. In the future, I want to focus on something I have a similar passion for. Every day I learn something new that will be useful in the future," she says.

Kononova's native language is Russian and she also speaks Lithuanian, English and Finnish. She says that she definitely intends to stay and work in Finland also in the future.

"I have grown to love Finland since moving here and getting used to cultural differences. Not only do I feel it is a safe and welcoming country, but it has also become a significant part of my academic and professional journey. After completing my bachelor's degree, I plan to complete a master's degree in Finland. I see Finland as an ideal place to build a successful career and future for myself," says Kononova.

Fayez Bassalat learned Finnish language and work culture

Fayez Bassalat is a second-year student in Metropolia's Electronics degree programme, from which he will graduate as a Bachelor of Engineering. He is from Palestine and has previously studied Civil Engineering in China in 2019–2022.

"I came here to study and to gain work experience, to build a future. At Metropolia, I was interested in the fact that this is a university of applied sciences, which means that in addition to theory, there is practice. Here you learn things that are genuinely useful in working life. That's also what I'm doing in my current internship programme: helping students with practical aspects of their innovation projects," says Bassalat.

This spring, Bassalat did an internship at Metropolia's Clean and Sustainable Solutions Innovation Hub. He worked on the collaborative platforms Robo Garage, AIoT Garage and Hiilitalli. His job description includes developing the activities of the student hobby group Garage Club, recruiting new members and helping students with projects related to robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Bassalat applied to the programme because he wanted to improve his Finnish language skills and learn more about Finnish working culture. When reading the job description, he was interested in tasks related to electronics and robotics, i.e. topics he was familiar with from his studies. Bassalat says that his Finnish language skills have improved as a result of the internship programme. He has found learning about working life particularly useful.

"I have learned that in Finland, CVs, networking, and personal branding are very important when applying for a job or building one’s career. I have gained a lot of good tips and practical experience for these. I have also learned important things about my own field, electronics. It has been particularly interesting to learn more about applications of electronics, circuit design, artificial intelligence, and programming," says Bassalat.

In addition to learning Finnish, Bassalat speaks English and Chinese. His native language is Arabic.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to do this internship. It has helped me to think about how I can build my future in Finland and from where to start. I could see myself staying in Finland in the future. I like being in Finland and I hope to have a successful career here!"

Helping international students to find employment

The Metropolia Trainee Programme concept is to be extended to companies in the future, bringing more opportunities for international students.

More information

Anu Luoma
Specialist at Metropolia’s International Relations Office
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
anu.v.luoma [at] (anu[dot]v[dot]luoma[at]metropolia[dot]fi)

Henriikka Heikkinen
Specialist, Student Affairs
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
henriikka.heikkinen [at] (henriikka[dot]heikkinen[at]metropolia[dot]fi)

Hanna Aho
Senior Lecturer, Team for Global Health and Nursing
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
hanna.aho [at] (hanna[dot]aho[at]metropolia[dot]fi)