Networking towards better employer collaboration

 

The Network for Societal Interaction (YVV) of the University of Turku is a collaborative network of peers aimed at people whose work involves employer collaboration.

 

The network was founded as part of the Lähde työelämään project. The participating academic units have each appointed a YVV contact person whose task is to distribute information regarding societal interaction within his or her unit and communicate with stakeholders.


The goal of the YVV network is to develop internal cooperation within the university and advance the adoption of good practices. The network wishes to attract more attention to employer contacts and working life skills in the planning and implementation of teaching.


Beginning steps of the network in the university of Turku:


1.)  Initial interviews: A wide selection of persons from different units were interviewed in order to identify areas of development, interest towards the network and the overall situation regarding employer collaboration.

2.) Planning team: The key organizers formed a planning team whose task was to draft an initial model of operation for the network. The team had to carry wide-ranging expertise, as the goal was to integrate the network into the structures and practices of the university.

3.) Identifying areas of operation: The team then set out to identify existing forms of employer collaboration, locate persons responsible for employer contacts and list the most important areas of development. These determined the goals of the network.

4.) Organizing the network: Information about the project was distributed widely beforehand, and each unit was asked to nominate a network contact person. A mailing list was created to facilitate communication between the members.

5.) Starting up the network: After the planning team had formulated the initial goals and policies, the members of the network had a meeting. The team and the network set out to plan the future operation of the organization.


The network has helped to develop employer collaboration 

  • By organizing network meetings for sharing experiences, developing methods of operation and building new contacts.
  • Events have been held at both university and faculty level, featuring specialist speakers, workshops and discussions.
  • By offering training events, which provide contact persons tips and tools for planning and implementing different forms of employer collaboration.
  • Training events have covered topics such as identifying previously acquired competencies and the significance of student projects and working life competencies in teaching.
  • By compiling and maintaining a material bank that offers information, guidance and examples regarding employer collaboration.

Pilvi Lempiäinen and Heli Aarnisalo (Lähde työelämään -project, university of Turku)