General working life skills refer to skills that education should produce regardless of field of expertise and can be utilised in various tasks. These include communication skills, teamwork skills, problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills.
What kind of working life skills do organisations expect from recent graduates?
3 main skills:
- Attitude to developing one's own competence: - Vitally important - It was often emphasised that what one already knows is not important but what one is willing to learn
- Problem solving skills: - It was also mentioned that it is important to be able to solve problems in a group
- Teamwork skills: - In working life, a lot of things are done together, rarely alone
3 least important skills
- Career goals: - A recent graduate does not need to know exactly her/his direction in the future, a good attitude to develop is sufficient (career skills are also defined differently, therefore there is some variation)
- Expertise in sustainable development (varies by sector)
- Project management skills - Can be learned at work - (but in some sectors more skills in organizing, time management and teamwork are wished)
How can working life skills be developed during studies?
The internship included in the studies helps to identify and assess one's own strengths and development needs, by getting competence through concrete examples. Internship helps to plan studies and career paths according to one's own interests and strengths.
The internship gives a true picture of what it's like to be in working life. During the internship, the student learns the general working life skills that are difficult to teach at the university. The employer's feedback and comments on the student's plan provide direct feedback on the skills required in working life.
During the internship, the student's understanding of the development of his/her own competence and expertise, as well as an understanding of the importance of working life skills (both sectoral and general working life skills), will increase.
Through the internship, the student gets experiences of achievements and success.
Practical training opens up new opportunities and employment opportunities improve. The studies become concrete and the student gets to apply the theory to practice. The student's knowledge of employers in the field and in the field of studies is growing.
In addition to academic skills, numerous working life skills develop during doing the Master's Thesis.
Trainees are also useful to the employer. Employers have the opportunity to recruit students who are skilled and motivated for internships/summer jobs and who know the latest research in the field. Employers get a better understanding of students' skills and competences. When an employer is looking for new employees, a student who has been on an internship is a safe choice because he or she already knows things and ways of working.
Students are often uncertain about what kind of organisations and jobs they can apply for. One's own competence is seen too narrowly or one's own competences are recognised only to a limited extent.
TYYLI-hanke project, a joint project of six higher education institutes, which improved the working life connections of university study programmes. https://tyylihanke.wordpress.com/
Päivi Palosaari-Aubry: Study on the development working life skills, TYYLI-hanke at Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering
Valtonen-kuismanen-Nieminen: Mapping of the desired working life skills in the field of technology in working life, TYYLI-hanke