6Aika and competent Vantaa: relevant competence wanted
Employers are always looking for the best and the latest skills. Those skills are constantly changing, which makes the demand and supply puzzle between workers, educational institutions, companies and the city ever more complicated. 6Aika projects explore new customer-oriented employment services and solutions for learning new skills.
Healthcare and welfare technology is one of the rapidly developing sectors. In Vantaa, the 6Aika: Roboboost project focuses on welfare technologies and allows students, companies and teachers to build up their skills in robotics and related technologies.
“Employers are fighting over robotics experts. We have to find networks and forms of collaboration for companies and educational institutions that will improve the competence of both students, teachers and employees in the city’s healthcare and social care sector and companies. “At the same time, the competence and experience of the technology’s end-users will also increase,” says Roboboost project manager Henna Varonen from the Vantaa vocational college Varia.
The Roboboost collaboration includes educational institutions as well as companies from the care and technology sectors. In addition to training and mentoring, the project has developed a cross-sector co-teaching model, which has attracted wide interest.
“We have piloted a model where we combine studies in welfare technology (under ICT studies) and healthcare and social care. In the workplace, we pair up students from these different courses so that they can support each other with their different skills,” says Varonen.
Paths for young ICT experts
6Aika DigiPoint was created to serve ICT experts. This project aims to find new paths to employment or further education for ICT graduates who, for whatever reason, have not found a job. The objective is for young people – even those who are facing challenges with employment – to find a job in which they can use their expertise.
“The project is experimenting with two different paths: workshops that aim to improve the general skills of participants, and group study modules at Open UAS that aim to assist in gaining a place at a university of applied sciences,” explains project manager Mikko Turunen from Vantaa Employment Services.
Turunen points out that finding good solutions for youth employment requires persistency. The projects allow agile experimentation with various ways to encourage young people to start higher education.
“At the moment, we are working on a virtual meeting place for young jobseekers and potential employers using virtual reality technology,” says Turunen.
An observation made in every competence- and employment-related project has been that it really pays to invest in cooperation between educational institutions and companies and in creating strong networks. Building networks is serious work that can be difficult to fit into your busy everyday schedule.
The 6Aika Work Hub project was designed to solve the equation of finding employment and education on one hand and finding good employees on the other. The Work Hub aims to create a national model that takes into consideration the varying needs of the adult population in order to improve employment and services.
The Vantaa subproject is part of the joint local employment experiment by Vantaa and Kerava. The objective is to develop smooth-running and customer-oriented services, tools and methods for providing guidance.
“As part of the local experiment, the responsibilities of the state-run Employment and Economic Development Offices are transferred to the local authorities. At the moment, services are scattered and fragmentary from the point of view jobseekers, employers as well as other interest groups. We are also building networks as services that aim to improve competence must have good connections with educational institutions,” points out project manager Satu-Marja Salmi from Vantaa Employment Services.
Because the services are there for the local residents, the users of employment services will be involved in shaping these services.
“When the actual users take part in brainstorming about new services for people looking for employment or education in our workshops, we will have that vital customer point of view for our development work,” says Salmi.
6Aika is a joint sustainable urban development strategy of the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. This strategy centres on joint development projects and cross-sector collaboration between cities, companies and other organisations and sectors and offers platforms and environments for experimenting and development. In Vantaa, 6Aika means experimenting with new ideas and development projects in and with the city.