Espoo offers excellent opportunities to combine upper secondary studies and sports – a new form of guidance for sports students in building their own personal brand and a successful career

2.3.2023 7.46Updated: 3.3.2023 7.20

Sports schools are doing important work to enable young elite athletes to combine education and sport. A new element in Espoo’s sports schools are step-by-step materials and a course on the basics of personal branding for young athletes. The module has been designed in cooperation with students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences and sports schools in Espoo.

In spring 2022, Laurea’s student team at the Hyvinkää campus organised a study project on the development of the branding of athletes’ dual career and the personal branding of athletes in cooperation with Omnia, the sport lines of Haukilahti and Leppävaara upper secondary schools, the City of Espoo and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area sports academy. The project yielded material that can be used in the future to include students’ personal branding in study modules at sports schools.  

The assignment was based on the need to provide concrete support to young athletes in Espoo in developing their own personal brand, to raise awareness of the dual career of athletes, and to promote the current and future top performers of different sports in Espoo.   

“Personal brands are something normal for modern athletes. The athlete’s own brand creates successors and attracts interest in both the sport and the athlete themselves. The personal branding course and material provide our athlete students with important support in creating and supporting their own brand,” comments Petra Sillanpää, Manager of Omnia’s Sport Educational Institution.  

“One key area of expertise in sports aiming at the top level is building your own brand. I am delighted that we can all contribute to strengthening this readiness,” says Tapio Erma, Director of Upper Secondary Education and Youth Services.  

An athlete benefits from a strong personal brand  

Oona Uusitalo, project manager from the student team, said that young athletes are interested in their personal brand. “The need to make young elite athletes more aware of how to create their own brand is great, as managing your own brand is more important the further the athletes aim for in their careers,” says Uusitalo.   

Creating a personal brand is topical for athletes well before the acquisition of partners becomes topical. Building a strong brand is slow, meaning that existing visibility and standing out in a positive sense help young people find partners, but also differentiate themselves from other competitors.   

During the project, athlete students from both Omnia and Haukilahti and Leppävaara upper secondary schools were interviewed, and a survey was conducted for all athlete students from these schools. Based on these student interviews, a wonderful set of personal brand stories was written. Educational institutions can use these stories in the future to promote athletes’ dual career, and athlete students can use them to improve the visibility of their personal brand.   

Petra Sillanpää, Heikki Saloranta and Heikki Taskinen, sports coordinators from Omnia and Leppävaara and Haukilahti upper secondary schools respectively, look forward to the introduction of the material with second and third-year sports students in autumn 2023. “Really great material that we can utilise in a versatile manner in the Develop into a top athlete course.”  

“The guide can be used in a multiprofessional manner, and we will certainly share it with all teachers who teach athletes. Let’s hope that athletes will receive more support for promoting their dual careers,” summarises  Sillanpää.

Check out students’ inspiring brand stories on combining goal-oriented sports and studying:  

From the left: Laurea's student Roosa Koivisto, student Oona Uusitalo, instructor Pirjo Lappalainen, student Riikka Perälahti.

Espoo offers excellent opportunities for combining competitive and elite sports with studies 

Espoo has excellent opportunities for combining goal-oriented sports and studies in upper secondary institutions. Athletes can acquire professional qualifications, a general upper secondary school diploma or a matriculation examination certificate while pursuing goals in their own sport.   

Sports schools in Espoo  

  • Omnia(external link) organises vocational basic education, preparatory education for an upper secondary qualification (TUVA) and general upper secondary education for adults. In addition, Omnia has a special task of providing vocational education and training for athletes, granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture.   
  • Haukilahti and Leppävaara upper secondary schools have sports lines where you can combine goal-oriented sports and studies.   
  • Applications to sports lines may be submitted in the joint application process after basic education between 21 February and 21 March 2023.   
  • Read more about sports schools and the athletes’ personal brand guide at website Sport Schools

Did you know this about Urhea?  

Urhea(external link), the Helsinki Metropolitan Area sports academy, is a national sports academy that also runs the National Olympic Training Center Helsinki, focusing on summer sports. The Urhea cooperation network supports the daily training of athletes, helps build a dual career for athletes and links expert work to the daily life of athletes and coaches.  

Keneltä lisätietoja?

Haukilahden lukio
Heikki Taskinen

Leppävaaran lukio
Heikki Saloranta
+358 50 5631006

Petra Sillanpää
+358 46 8515210

  • Growth and Learning
  • General Upper Secondary Education