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Page updated 16.5.2019

TUAS’ BusinessAcademy helped immigrants find employment

Turku University of Applied Sciences designed a Bachelor of Business Administration study programme for highly educated immigrants. The training provided the participants with practical entrepreneurial competences and information on Finnish working life. A fresh collection of articles presents practical experiences on the training.

Finland has internationalized fast, and the number of immigrants has nearly doubled in Finland during the 21st century. At the same time, the post-war baby boomer generation is retiring.

Highly educated immigrants – a resource wasted in Finland?

Among immigrants, many people have completed a higher education degree. Of the population, which has immigrated to Finland, two out of five possess a higher education degree.

“Why do we have to seek the needed workforce from elsewhere, when we already have it in Finland?” asks project manager Kosar Mahmoodi.

Turku University of Applied Sciences designed the Bachelor of Business Administration study programme, titled Maahanmuuttajat BisnesAkatemiassa (Immigrants at BusinessAcademy) for highly educated immigrants. The study programme is supported by the Ministry for Education and Culture. The purpose is to offer Bachelor of Business Administration study programme for people with an immigrant background living in Finland. The participants shall have completed at least 100 ECTS of business or other suitable higher education studies.

“The purpose is to find highly educated immigrants employment in their own field. The applicants get frustrated, if they don’t get to utilize their competences in work in their own field”, Mahmoodi explains.

BusinessAcademy teaches you to take the responsibility for your own learning

The students complete the studies in 1.5 years at TUAS’ BusinessAcademy. BusinessAcademy is a business administration learning environment of Turku University of Applied Sciences, where you learn by doing in practice.

“I have been involved with BusinessAcademy from the start, and the strength of the concept lies in its way of integrating theory with practice”, describes Head of Education and Research Jaana Kallio-Gerlander.

Students work as entrepreneurs in their own cooperative and at the same time, develop their own business. An independent approach to studying requires adjustment from the participants.

“The beginning was a bit of a shock for some of the students, because they are responsible for the progress of their own studies. After getting used to the way of studying, they finally got very excited about the studies”, says Mahmoodi.

At Business Academy, students work with genuine commissions from companies. The teachers are coaches and instructors, and do not provide ready-made information for the students. Students search for theoretical knowledge for study groups themselves (in these, theoretical knowledge is shared at BusinessAcademy) and apply it e.g. in solving a problem or promoting a project.

In addition to the traditional curriculum, students create individual study plans, where they set themselves detailed goals. These are monitored together with the coach throughout the studies and specified if necessary.

Networks and Finnish language skills help in finding employment

It has been discovered that highly educated immigrants face different kinds of obstacles to finding employment in Finland.

“The most important obstacles are poor Finnish language skills and employers’ prejudices. In addition, they don’t necessarily possess the networks needed for employment”, Mahmoodi describes.

The education not only helped to develop the participants’ Finnish language skills but also increase their networks in Finland.

“Some of the students have established their own companies or found employment through practical training or otherwise already during the studies”, Mahmoodi rejoices.

A publication on experiences on the study programme

A fresh collection of articles compiles experiences on the study programme. Some of the articles in the publication have been written in Finnish and some in English. The authors include staff members who worked with the study programme and students.

The articles discuss, for example, working in a multicultural environment and learning the Finnish language. The publication includes, for example, the article “Untapped talents in Finland”. In addition, the application process, which is different from usual, and the Business Academy learning model at Turku University of Applied Sciences are covered.

Download the publication Korkeasti koulutetut maahanmuuttajat BisnesAkatemiassa for free. The name of the publication is in Finnish, but it contains several articles in English.