Korko service helps highly educated jobseekers find new careers

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2020-02-05 15:33

In 2017–2019, the cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area developed an approach in which jobseekers with higher education degrees were supported in job search. The results were good – 50 per cent of the participants in the project found employment. Free job search service is now available in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.

Municipalities have become aware of the prolonged periods of unemployment of educated jobseekers.

“We wanted to test whether jobseekers find employment faster if they receive sparring,” says Merja Kyllönen, Service Manager of City of Espoo Employment Services, who managed the Korko project.

“We also wanted to develop shared solutions for the shortage of experts in companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area,” say Tuula Antola, Director for Economic and Business Development at the City of Espoo and chairperson of the Korko Project steering group; Ilkka Haahtela, Head of Immigration and Employment Affairs at the City of Helsinki; and Heli Okkonen, Service Manager at City of Vantaa.

Roots in the ‘KORKO – Value for Academics – creating opportunities’ project

The trial was carried out as a joint project of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa in 2017–2019. It was funded by the European Social Fund ESF and the cities of Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa. The City of Espoo managed the project. The project was carried out in a network-based partnership with companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and with economic and employment actors.

Peer mentoring clarified personal skills and goals

The participants from different fields, such as engineering, economic sciences, legal science and the humanities, were assigned to peer mentoring groups. The common denominators were long careers at expert or management level as well as prolonged unemployment. The groups worked on themes linked to job search and were encouraged to open-mindedly consider in which direction they wanted to develop their career and skills. The peer mentoring helped them verbalise and market their own expertise.

“Peer mentoring is an effective and empowering way to improve job search and find employment,” state Riitta-Liisa Hakkarainen and Eeva-Maija Vuorela, who have led over 60 groups.

Competence improved in thematic groups and training sessions

“In the focal areas named for the project, thematic groups were organised to explore topical issues and training opportunities in the field,” says Business Services Specialist Jouni Kivelä.

The themes included service design, digital transformation and the circular economy. Some participants were content with a short LinkedIn training and a coaching meeting. Others applied for retraining and uppgrading of qualifications.

“Employers value applicants who actively develop their skills,” says Business Services Specialist Lauri Movall. As their skills developed, the participants started to produce competence-based CVs, video CVs, LinkedIn networks and more relevant job applications.

Business collaboration and matching

The project contacted 400 companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area that needed to recruit new skills. Recruitment visits to the companies were organised, allowing the participants to showcase their skills to the companies. At the same time, the participants themselves were actively applying for jobs. Of the 800 participants, 400 found jobs and nearly 100 started training.

“Most of our participants were employed in demanding jobs, and many got a second wind for their career,” says Business Services Specialist Pekka Kalenius.

The Korko service is now a part of the cities’ employment services

The project showed that highly educated jobseekers benefit from support for their job search. THe companies felt that the Korko service helps them find skilled workers. The funder praises the project results and professional staff.

“Thanks to analytical development work and network-based cooperation, the cities now have an effective means of promoting the employment of educated jobseekers,” says Auli Vuorela from the Häme Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

At the beginning of 2020, the Korko service was made a permanent part of the operations of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. New groups start every month. Jobseekers can register for groups themselves or get a referral from the TE Office. The service is free of charge.

Contact persons

Hilla-Maaria Sipilä

Head of Employment Services
tel. +358 43 824 6624

Merja Kyllönen
Service Manager
tel. +358 43 825 7992

Ilkka Haahtela

Head of Immigration and Employment Affairs
tel. +358 40 125 9887

Tuulia Rauhala-Kaltio
Business Coordinator
tel. +358 40 146 9448

Heli Okkonen

Service Manager
tel. +358 43 826 8770

Kari Ahlström
Service Supervisor

tel. +358 50 312 4520

More information and links

The Korko service is a concept designed to speed up the re-employment of jobseekers with higher education degrees and to provide solutions for the recruitment needs of companies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The service is aimed residents of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa who are over 30 years old, have a higher education degree and have been unemployed for at least six months.

Next information sessions for jobseekers

  • Vantaa: Mon 10 February 2020 at 14:00–15:00. Vantaa TE Office, Vernissakatu 1, 5th floor, meeting room Kiitorata, Vantaa
  • Espoo: Wed 12 February 2020 at 13:00–14:00. Espoo TE Office, Upseerinkatu 3, meeting room Marsalkka, Espoo
  • Helsinki: Thu 6 February 2020 at 13:00–14:00, Kamppi TE Office, Antinkatu 1, Helsinki

Information sessions are held every month.

Korko loppuseminaari 04122019

From the left: Riitta-Liisa Hakkarainen, peer mentoring group leader; Tuula Antola, Director for Economic and Business Development at the City of Espoo; Eeva-Maija Vuorela, peer  mentoring group leader; Pekka Kalenius, Business Services Specialist; Katihanna Ilomäki, Assistant; Jouni Kivelä, Business Services Specialist; Lauri Movall, Business Services Specialist; and Merja Kyllönen, Service Manager.