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The needs of working life are changing faster and faster
University students need to learn more and more during their on-the-job training

According to a survey by TAMK University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) there is a need for more cooperation between universities and workplaces regarding students’ on-the-job training. This way the students’ professional growth can gain strength and employers can get competent workforce for tasks which are changing faster and faster. The survey was funded by the Ministry of Education, Finland and the European Social Fund.

Jani Berkovits and Samuli Kolari
Jani Berkovits (left) of Sandvik Mining and Construction Oy and Samuli Kolari of Tampere University of Applied Sciences are aware of the importance of on-the-job training when students are qualifying for their professions.
High resolution image (707 Kb)
Photo: Kalle Heiska

The findings revealed a wide variation in the success of university students’ on-the-job training. Best practices and results of on-the-job training were obtained mostly in those degree programmes with large numbers of students. The students themselves are responsible for their on-the-job training and reporting about it. The educational institution and the workplace, however, give them guidance.

Students want to have good supervision from the educational institution during their on-the-job training so as to be able to deepen their theoretical studies and be able to apply in practice the theories learnt in class. As the studies progress, the students need more demanding tasks during their training in order to be able to learn how to respond to the rapidly changing expectations of the working life.

Training recommendations have been set at national level, but they have not been achieved in all respects. According to the survey findings the universities lack clear procedures with which to support the arranging of students’ on-the-job training. The employers of the training place do not get information on a regular basis about the trainees’ knowhow and the trainees do not get sufficient feedback on their on-the-job training period. Many institutions of higher education have been unable to provide enterprises with the clear trainee service they want.

At the workplaces there is wide variation in the practices for on-the-job training. Those enterprises whose employees also lecture at the educational institutions, are more familiar with the level of knowledge and knowhow of the students and have thus on the one hand a better chance to support the students’ training period and on the other hand to get goal-oriented trainees, and further to get capable, innovative workers in the long run.

The on-the-job training of university students was surveyed in enterprises in Western Finland. Data were gathered from supervisors at the workplaces and from those responsible for on-the-job training in the universities.

TAMK has sound experience in development projects of different fields of engineering education, both nationally and internationally. Although the students’ on-the-job training is recognized as an important part of the education, Finland has been somewhat less successful in fulfilling the versatile goals of the on-the-job training.

Publication: CASE – Korkeakoulutuksen harjoittelun työelämälähtöiset hyvät käytännöt ja kehittämishaasteet, 2009, 42 p., TAMK University of Applied Sciences (in print).

More information:

TAMK University of Applied Sciences
Petri Murtomäki, Project Manager
tel. +358 40 777 0956
TAMK University of Applied Sciences
Samuli Kolari, Principal Lecturer
tel. +358 50 524 6520
Sandvik Mining and Construction Oy
Jani Berkovits, Production Development Manager
Tel. +358 40 839 8618

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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