The student unions of the universities of Eastern Finland, Jyväskylä, Lapland, Oulu, Vaasa and the student union of LUT University demand that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM) offers more funding to increase the number of supervised and paid internships for academic students.
In many fields, having an internship as a part of a university degree is difficult. There are various reasons behind this. There might not be room for the internship in the degree or the universities might not offer enough guidance for the internship. Behind the scenes there are often too few internship opportunities and difficulties related to securing livelihood.
The National Union of University Students in Finland commissioned the study called ‘Tracking the Effects of Remote Teaching’, according to which more than half of the university students who took the survey reported that they had difficulties in getting an internship. The respondents say that the main reasons for this are the lack of internship positions and the cancellations of internships.
The study also tells a very concerning message about how the students experience their preparedness for working life. Almost half of the university students who participated in the study think that the online education during the pandemic did not offer enough skills relevant to working life. Almost half of the respondents are also concerned about the relevance of their education in working life.
To improve the working life readiness of university students, internships must be enabled to every university student. International students and their opportunities to apply for internships must be also taken into account. Taking an internship supports the development of working life preparedness and the moving to working life from studies. Enough internship positions can be ensured by investing more money in supervised and paid internships.
Students form the heart of many cities. Altogether there are nearly 60 000 students studying in Kuopio, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Rovaniemi, Lappeenranta, Oulu and Vaasa, that bring an enormous amount of knowledge and vitality both to the cities and to the municipalities close to them. With their demand, the student unions want to ensure the vitality and solve the problem of the shortage of skilled workers. The vitality of a city can be maintained by increasing the possibilities for internships, which makes it easier to stay and work in a city after completing one’s studies.