INTERVIEWEE: Elise Stenroos, Senior Lecturer in Forestry, Häme University of Applied Sciences
INTERVIEW TOPIC: Forestry education at HAMK has engaged in close cooperation with leading operators in the sector, including UPM, Metsä Group and Stora Enso. One of the forms this cooperation takes is sponsor activities.
Sponsor activities between forestry education on Evo campus and various forestry sector operators have continued for a number of years. The sponsor company shares the student group’s journey for three years and contributes up-to-date information directly from working life to the education programme.
What was the most interesting aspect of the sponsor company activities?
The cooperation adds depth to the teaching, and we would like to think that it also benefits our partners. When teaching involves authentic cooperation with working life, it is highly motivating for the students and probably also for the teachers. The fact that the cooperation has extended to not only forestry teaching but also communication and Swedish language studies has also been great.
Who benefited from the cooperation?
Last autumn, first-year students wrote blog posts, the best ones of which were published on UPM Metsä’s website. The students were excited about the attention their posts received. Cooperation with a sponsor company gives students opportunities for networking and showcasing their competence, and also better possibilities to assess the company as a potential employer. The cooperation also enables the sponsor to promote a positive company image and perhaps find good new employees.
What is happening next?
Some of the students are currently supervising harvesting results on UPM’s authentic sites. Third-year students are going to visit Äänekoski bioproduct factory with Metsä Group in the spring as the concluding event of the sponsoring programme. Second-year students are working on spatial data projects for Stora Enso as part of the sponsor cooperation.
What else would you like to see happening?
The advantage of long-term cooperation of this type is that, as it intensifies, it may provide an excellent springboard for doing and developing something completely new.
”Evo has a long history of turning out skilled forestry experts. It is probably partly due to its unique location, but this tradition and ability to train forestry experts is evident in working life, as the competence of forestry engineers and students from Evo stands out to their advantage. Skilled personnel is a particular asset for a forestry organisation, and the sponsor activities make it possible for us and future forestry experts graduating from HAMK to get to know each other. There will be a lot of retirements in the forestry sector over the next few years, and consequently a demand for new workers.”
Rauli Karppinen, Regional Manager, UPM