Design, define and redefine…I am thinking that it is what it is all about. My own and everybody else´s career…it is a process of constant development.
KI Career Service and HR is attending a meeting in Helsinki, the International Staff Exchange Week (ISEW) focusing on career education and career monitoring alumni. 37 delegates from 30 universities in 13 different countries meet and share experiences and best practice. It is fascinating spending 48 hours together with people interested in the exact same things as you – the energy is high in the room!
Over the hours we discuss our work and it all boils down to a number of challenges that most of us working with career service are facing.
It is called career education for a reason – it should be part of the curriculum. Students need to strengthen the knowledge of who they are, what options are out there and how to actually find them. As universities we have a responsibility to make graduates employable. It will be a process to encourage academics to include this topic when constructing future study plans. In Helsinki University it is mandatory to do a 10 ECTS credit course in career education on BA level and also included in studies on MA and PhD level. Something for the rest of us to strive towards.
We must remind ourselves that our best strategy to reach out and remind our students and researchers that we are available is through cooperation with study counselors, academics, current students and alumni – we are all part of university services.
We must help students understand the value of practical experiences and how this links to their theoretical knowledge acquired within their fields of study. Be it an internship, summer job or study or staff exchange experience. In the UK there is a system with employability awards where students can utilize their extracurricular work experiences and transform them into employability skills through reflection. That is where the learning takes place, combining theory, practice and reflection. Maybe we should introduce a KI Employability Award?
Wording is important. There are many words that students can not relate to or make some of them stressed like career, planning, success and networking. We are here to prepare and support them to take the next step into the job market but the career journey is theirs to make. Planning might also not be so much planning but rather following your interests – one attending career counselor actually asked all of us if we had ever planned to work as career counselors?
It is a balance between planning and grabbing opportunity when given.
I, Emma Hägg, will actually walk the talk and grab the opportunity to redefine my own career (again) after almost three years in Career Service and a total of 14 years and six positions in the Education Support Office. After the summer I will transfer to the Faculty Office and External Relations to work as international coordinator supporting KI´s study programmes. I might be back with a guest blog as there is a strong link between international experiences and career development.
Stay tuned, stay curious and continue to design, define and redefine! Bye for now…