TEXT Tytti Huttunen, Communicators coordinator, Economy and Youth TAT
Youngsters get down to business
Finnish sixth graders get a taste of what it’s like to work for UPM as part of Yrityskylä, a Finnish educational innovation that prepares kids for the real world of business.
“I am the future” is written on the green work shirts of twelve-year-olds in Helsinki and Lappeenranta who arrive to spend the day as ‘official’ UPMpersonnel. The kids are taking part in a unique learning programme called Yrityskylä, which culminates in a day spent in a miniature city where students learn about their role as consumers, citizens, and employees by working and earning a symbolic salary. There are various Yrityskylä learning environments in different parts of Finland, each one reflecting the economic structure of the surrounding region. The miniature city comprises real public services and enterprises, helping students deepen their understanding of economics and acquire new professional skills. UPMwas among the first corporate partners to join the programme. Real-life lessons During their day at the ‘business village’, the students are required to complete tasks that resemble real duties at UPM. Most of them adopt their new roles and master complex concepts at an astonishing speed. Through learning by doing, the students are able to harness their personal strengths and recognise personality traits that might be useful in their future careers. The most important outcome, however, is that every student is able to experience that their contribution is valuable. The whole miniature city is like a puzzle in which everyone plays an important role completing the picture. In this way, students learn that teamwork and strong interpersonal skills are vital in their everyday lives and future profession. The ‘miniature UPM’ has a Vice President, a shop floor worker, a communications and marketing manager and a researcher. UPM shares its cutting-edge expertise on the Finnish forest industry, and students have a chance to familiarise themselves with forests and the opportunities offered in this sector. Every task has a pedagogical purpose, and the pedagogical experts strive to make the learning experience rewarding for the sixth-grade participants. Yrityskylä meets the requirements of the new Finnish curriculum in a highly innovative way, with a strong focus on work skills and entre-preneurship. Most students describe the experience as their “best school day ever”. After a day spent at Yrityskylä, many say they are more confident and interested in pursuing a profession. A day spent as a UPM employee is a fun, unforgettable experience that gives them a positive experience of success and knowledge about their future options.
“I AM THE FUTURE”
LOOK UP THE VIDEO: UPM Yrityskylä learning environment