Skills and support for employment through coaching

Published: 5.10.2021 6.09
Hands of four persons on the table.
The peer mentoring model of the 6Aika projects has been utilised and further developed at Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo Region, where it reaches a wider audience than before.Photo: Olli Urpela

The employment projects of the 6Aika strategy in Espoo have focused on identifying the needs of companies and developing the skills of jobseekers to meet this need. Employment is not necessarily the only goal – finding a place in further education and training or considering the option of self-employment will also help people forward.

The City of Espoo has participated in three projects funded by the European Social Fund in the 6Aika strategy. Digipore developed the skills of jobseekers to meet the needs of companies, Job Pathways Finland helped young people on the entrepreneurial path, and DigiPoint will continue the work based on lessons learned.

Social support on top of coaching

In Digipore, customised programming training was tested as a solution for the mismatch problem in the ICT sector. In this context, mismatch refers to the difficulty of finding skilled workers to fill job vacancies in the sector even though many are unemployed. The project was very short in duration but produced positive results: about half of the clients found a job or a work trial place after the training.

DigiPoint will continue working on the same challenge until summer 2022. The majority of the participants are highly educated or immigrants.

“DigiPoint builds on the lessons learned from Digipore. Reaching out to companies, among other things, has been easier than starting from scratch thanks to previous learnings,” says Susanna Tuisku, DigiPoint Project Manager.

DigiPoint also provides social support, the need for which was observed in previous projects. For example, peer support is very important for jobseekers. Completing a coaching programme may also require more personal guidance if the unemployment has been prolonged.

Project lessons put to wider use

A Mastermind Group of mentoring and peer support for immigrants interested in entrepreneurship and self-improvement was also established in the Job Pathways Finland project. The City of Espoo was responsible for mentoring and building an entrepreneurial network, and Metropolia developed entrepreneurship education for young immigrants alongside it.

Around 40% of the participants started a business or were seriously considering it. It was also considered a positive thing that some of the participants no longer found their business idea realistic after their entrepreneurship studies, allowing them to focus on finding employment in other ways.

“In addition, the lessons learned about immigrant education, recognising the need for peer support and networking with, for example, entrepreneurship and immigrant organisations are key results, although more difficult to measure,” says Jaana Gummerus, Job Pathways Finland Project Coordinator.

The peer mentoring model has also been utilised and further developed at Omnia, the Joint Authority of Education in the Espoo Region, where it reaches a wider audience than before.

In addition to peer support, employment projects have identified a need for a long view. Tuisku talks about the short duration of project activities. It may be difficult to reach the right client groups quickly, or their skills may be at a different level than that required by the training. More permanent structures are needed for the identification of competence needs, client guidance and identification of companies’ needs.

“Higher education institutes play an important role in providing education and training, but their perspective is limited to learning. The city has the opportunity to look at employment as part of wider well-being, and social support is an important part of this whole. Using the lessons of the projects in the local government pilot is an opportunity to give these services permanence.”

Additional information

This story is part of a series of stories about the City of Espoo’s work in the 6Aika strategy in 2014–2022.  The joint 6Aika strategy of the six largest cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Oulu and Turku) develops more open, smart and sustainable services in cities. The focus has been on identifying the city’s challenges and trying out new solutions between the city, companies, residents, educational institutions and universities.

Other parts of the series of stories:

  • Innovation work