My name is Mark James Hayton, I am a 23 year-old British citizen, I have a Bachelors degree with honours in International Business and I am currently working on a five week unpaid work placement at Helsingin Liiketalouden Ammattikorkeakoulu.
I first came to Finland on a six-month study placement as a part of my degree programme. After completing my studies and working in England for six months I returned to Finland to live with my Finnish long-term girlfriend in September 2004.
After I arrived, I applied for a long-term residency permit and registered with The Eures Agency, and The Addecco Agency in Finland. In February 2005 I received the long-term residency permit, at which point I was able to register with the Finnish Ministry of Labour (Työvoimatoimisto) and drew up a personal integration plan.
I also began applying to language schools and courses at this time. I was taken for an aptitude test at Adulta Oy (the first invitation I had received from my applications) in May 2005. There were 25 applicants in my test group undergoing written listening and oral tests. I passed the tests and was informed that I would enrol in the next available state funded course, which began in August 2005. Of the 25 from the test group three were present on my first day at Adulta.
At Adulta I studied Finnish language levels 1 – 3 and the working life course, I am currently studying Finnish level 4 independently and have an exam date set at Adulta on the 19th of May 2006. The course included written, listening and speaking exercises and was intended to develop each of these facets evenly. The working life course was designed to equip foreigner job seekers with correct CVs, applications and understanding of the Finnish working culture and ends in a five week unpaid work placement, the work placement requires 35 hours per week from each student in various industries and in various employment positions.
My personal experiences of the language course are split evenly between enjoyment and frustration. I thought the lessons were well structured, well delivered and enjoyable. The course materials, teaching methods and learning resources were also of excellent quality. However, from early on in the course student ability began to divide the class and higher ability students became bored while some basic subject areas were repeated. In addition, lower ability students either unwilling or unable to participate were left behind.
Each language level lasts for 50 days / 10 weeks, while the working life course consists of a 35 day / seven week study period and a 25 day / five week work placement. At the end of the work placement I will have attended Adulta Oy for 210 working days / 42 weeks / 10 months.
From this time I feel I have learned a good grasp of the Finnish language and an improved understanding of the Finnish labour market and my options in it.
From the course at Adulta I have learned a great deal of Finnish language skills, my rights as an employee and a job seeker, the appropriate methods to search for employment, and interview techniques. I feel that the course has drastically improved my abilities and opportunities as a job seeker and I am deeply grateful for all of the time and effort I have received as a student there.
After my five-week unpaid work placement, I plan to continue applying for employment. I began the application process while studying in Finnish language level 2. I am currently registered with seven employment agencies in Finland I have applied to over 50 employment positions in various fields and 26 unpaid work placement positions. I have been invited to four interviews and have yet to find employment.
Written for the Helsingin Ammattikorkeakoulu, 16/5/2006