Mentoring Is Dialogue – Mentoring Programme at University of Turku Encourages for Career Development

The multidisciplinary mentoring programme supports both students’ transition into professional life and researchers’ and other personnel’s career development. The mentors are University’s alumni, and other volunteers who want to share their professional life experience and views, and also their professional network.

The main feature of the mentoring programme is the independent meetings of the mentoring pairs or groups, in which the mentors and actors discuss themes related to career, professional life, and the demands of the professional life in one’s own field.

A physics student Ela Arasola applied for the mentoring programme to find clarity in her future career goals.

– There seemed to be an unlimited amount of choices, and to make those choices, I needed experience I did not yet have. My mentor happened to be the best person for this job. We have looked into my CV, but also employment possibilities and corporate visits. Mentoring has given me a new valuable relationship, and confidence to pursue my ideal career, Arasola says.

Kaksi henkilöä keskustelee käytävällä.

A mentor of more than 20 students, Sassu Saarinen emphasises that mentoring is based on honesty and trust.

– Commitment is equally important as the content of the mentoring. I have been there for my actors’ joys and woes. Still, the actor is always the driver. They turn the wheel. The mentor’s job is to tell where each path takes.

New Perspectives for Your Expertise

The mentoring programme for doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers supports the development and identification of expertise.  The programme is open for doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral and grant-funded researchers of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The mentoring is carried out in small groups or in pairs. The programme begins with an orientation seminar in January and ends with a seminar in October. The seminars are held in English. Postdoctoral researcher Kalypso Filippou says that the mentoring experience has exceeded her expectations.

– It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know my mentor, have genuine and interesting discussions about working life and career opportunities while receiving encouragement and support.

A first-time mentor, the Head of International Relations Irinja Paakkanen encourages everyone who contemplate on becoming a mentor.

– I encourage you to apply! My mentoring experience has been very rewarding. Active interaction with the actor supports the development of the mentor’s own work as well.

Individual Support and Confidential Conversations

In the mentoring programme for the rest of the personnel, the actors’ objectives relate to the development of their work and themselves. Many consider mentoring useful specifically because of the individual approach.

– The mentoring programme is a great opportunity to make progress. The mentor gives support for one’s thoughts as well as good advice. The confidential conversations leave room for contemplating how to solve difficult matters, says Development Manager Paavo Kosonen from Innovation Services.

In addition, in 2021, the I-Me-Pro mentoring programme will be piloted for international talents who have their sights set for a career outside academia. The programme focuses on furthering the networking and integration of the international talents into professional life in Finland, to familiarise them with the Finnish corporate culture and innovative environments, and to help them find career opportunities. Also the personnel and grant-funded researchers are free to participate.

The I-Me-Pro mentoring programme will be carried out as a part of a project that supports the integration of the international personnel in higher education. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Source: University of Turku


European Higher Education Organization

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe. The EHEO general plan stresses that: Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected. The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders. Thus, EHEO plans: improve academic and scientific interaction of universities; protect the interests of universities; interact more closely with public authorities of European countries; popularize European higher education in the world; develop academic mobility; seek funding for European universities.

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