Satakunta has the opportunity to get rich in diversity!

Rauma has such a great potential to flourish as an international hot-spot, due to the international students from SAMK, the international talents working at Olkiluoto, the harbor and companies that are present in international trades.

Despite such lucrative opportunities to move further into the international markets and move forward into international competition, language barriers may hold further development back, thus also holding the development of not only Rauma back, but the entirety of Satakunta, as many companies despite being on the international market, require a certain level of good fluency in Finnish.

We interviewed Salla Lehtonen, Lecturer at SAMK and HR specialist, about her view on the phrase fluent Finnish required and how SAMK is doing their best to help their graduates onwards into the work market after their studies.

Fewer limitations – More openness

Lehtonen explains that, when you create a job advertisement you aim it at the best possible candidate for the position, keeping in mind that the absolute perfect candidate does not exist in most cases and based on that view anyone with some knowledge on Finnish could and should apply to advertisements that has the statement “fluent Finnish required”.

When diving into the question of whether Lehtonen, think there should be a change in regard to using the sentence, she clarifies that if the goal of using the phrase is to find Finnish candidates it would be better to write the advertisement in Finnish and emphasize that good English skills are required, as the advertisement should always be transparent about which language is important for the position at hand. In connection to this Lehtonen makes it clear that, she believes that job advertisements should never be directed to any nationality precisely, as there, in her opinion are very few jobs, that are limited to nationality of the individual. She also points out that Finland or any country for that matter cannot survive isolated and therefore there should be more openness to all nationalities and competences.

SAMK’s role in Employment

We then approach the topic of SAMK’s promotion of jobs for their students, where the phrase is also used in abundance, Lehtonen explains that in these cases the SAMK staff promote the application just as advertised and written by the companies, SAMK has no say in how the messages are worded. Lehtonen goes on to explain that it seems like the phrase has different meanings to different people as some understand it as complete fluency and others interpret it as basic Finnish skills, which is confusing not only the possible candidates but also the companies themselves and she recommends for internationals interested in a position where the phrase is used to call or at least contact the company and ask directly what level of Finnish they are expecting from a candidate, Lehtonen would also like the companies to challenge this thinking, by asking themselves if they really do need full fluency in Finnish for that particular position.

We then discuss the matter of SAMK’s own post graduate programs in regard to job seeking for all of the degrees SAMK offers. In this matter Lehtonen explains that SAMK has no such official program for job seeking and that she tries to help the students as much as she can herself. Though she states that the majority of students are already employed, close to employment or seeking further education when they have their end meeting. Lehtonen also praises the good co-operation between SAMK and the companies in the Satakunta area.

Despite these good prospects Lehtonen would hope for a more organized support system for the graduated students, Lehtonen makes it clear that, there are still work to be done in regard to the international students getting employed in Satakunta, paving the way for them to settle in Satakunta instead of losing the talent to other cities or countries. She states that Satakunta needs the international talent. Lehtonen also points out that it is a form of richness to have insight from diverse cultures from around the world.