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Self-learned vocational skills led a newly graduated to a new line of work

Sometimes you can build solid professional skills through your leisure activities. Then you may find yourself in a completely different line of work than your education. That’s what happened to Sonja whose practical training within the studies for a Bachelor of Science in Sociology led her to the ICT industry.

Sonja Roivainen, 25, has spent a lot of time with computers ever since childhood. So she considered studies of information and communications technology after comprehensive school, but ended up in upper secondary school. After completing her matriculation examination, Sonja knew that she wanted a job in which she could help people and use her personality. That’s why starting studies for a Bachelor of Science in Sociology seemed like a natural choice.

Sonja completed the practical training included in her sociology studies in spring 2017 in the municipality of Pielavesi where she got to familiarise herself with a wide range of duties related to the social affairs.

”During the practical training I came across tasks in which my computer skills were useful. I offered to help people with those.

Sonja’s knowledge of computers was quickly spotted, and the Head of Social and Health Services of the municipality also remembered them.

After the practical training Sonja continued to work part-time alongside studying. When she graduated as a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, Sonja was employed by the municipality, and in addition to social affairs duties, she participated e.g. in the development of digital services in the care of the elderly. Her supervisor encouraged Sonja to carry out ICT tasks, and in early 2019 Sonja started as an advisor of digital services.

”I can use my abilities diversely in this job. I get to talk with people, I can help them and use my computer skills.”

Encouragement and child-like curiosity

For Sonja, potential means an internal urge to do something. It can be either conscious or unconscious. People may not necessarily identify their full potential, but they may need a push to try something new to find it. Sonja commends her work community for encouraging the employees to present their own ideas and expertise. In addition, she feels that her supervisor has encouraged her to take on also such tasks that do not directly match her training or job description.

”People like to do things which they’re certainly good at. Although you are aware of your own skills, you don’t necessarily dare try the new things. Encouragement from others makes you try something new. Then it’s easier to notice that hey, I can do this, too.”

In addition to practical competence, Sonja will soon be also a formally qualified advisor of digital services – she is close to completing the basic qualification in information and communications technology which she has done alongside working. Based on her experience Sonja encourages also other people to use their potential broadly.

”You should have the courage to open your mouth and say honestly if you know how to do something. And you don’t even have to know it right away. The important thing is to maintain your child-like curiosity towards all things and try different things.”

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