The TOOLKIT for HEIs is an information package aimed at the staff of higher education institutions. Its purpose is to assist in working with higher education international students. The toolkit contains three sections: Integration, Career Guidance and Employer Collaboration. The material is based on international experiences and practices in HEIs that were gathered during the VALOA project.

The goal of the VALOA project was to identify challenges met by international students, and search for solutions in staff workshops and reports. The challenges and solutions that concern integration and career guidance have been compiled in the Solution Bank. The information package offers various methods that can be applied to career guidance, as well as advice on organizing career guidance and career-oriented studies with exercises. Another equally important aspect is increasing cooperation between HEIs and employers – the VALOA project focused particularly on developing marketing strategies and cooperation models. Information on these can be found in the Guidebooks section. Project cooperation models were developed in collaboration with the OVET project; also other collaboration models are covered in the Employer Collaboration section. For example, the University of Oulu has launched a culture coaching service, in which international students provide expert consultancy on their home country. The city of Oulu awarded the culture coaching service a “100 acts from Oulu” prize for advancing the region.

The site also contains the reports produced by the VALOA project:

  • Dragons Ciulinaru, Beyond studies: Struggles and Opportunities (2010)
  • Erica Kononen, Integrating Qualified Immigrants through SMEs (2011)
  • Yuzhuo Cai, Yulia Shumilova, Elias Pekkola: Employability of International Graduates Educated in Finnish Higher Education Institutions (2012)

VALOA project (2009–2012)

The VALOA project was part of the ESF-funded Osaajana työmarkkinoille (Competent in the Labour Market) development programme. The programme was carried out under the Ministry of Education and Culture and funded by the Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

The project was coordinated by the University of Helsinki in cooperation with the University of Oulu and the University of Lapland. Sixteen higher education institutions participated in the VALOA project, as well as the cities of Helsinki and Oulu, the Confederation of Finnish Industries and the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.


Written by:
VALOA Helsinki: Heidi Layne, Heli Turja, Päivi Jyry and Helena Hämäläinen
VALOA Oulu: Milja Tuomaala and Miia Wennström
VALOA Lappi: Tanja Javarus
and many others.

Photo: Tim Bird, Shutterstock

We could not have succeeded alone. We wish to thank our numerous collaborators and people who gave their best to achieve the goals of the VALOA project.

The VALOA team wishes you an enjoyable reading!