Voluntary retirees to support students
Oulu Vocational College has launched a K2K Kaveri Kaverille (A Friend to a Friend) project to test a form of voluntary student support that is new to the Finnish vocational education: We provide students with individual additional support for finishing studies and tackle other possible difficulties with the studies.
In 2014, 3,7 % of OSAO students, that is 208 students, quit their studies without having a replacing study place or a job. The objective of the K2K project is to create a K2K operating model and decrease the number of unfinished qualifications.
In the starting phase of the project, the voluntary support persons are retirees from the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education (Osekk) who have an extensive experience of working with students and that are interested in helping young people manage their life and studies. After the initial phase, we will extend the group of support people. This voluntary activity will not replace the work of student counselling professionals but aims at complementing it.
From a student’s point of view, the support gives leisurely time and interaction with the voluntary friend outside classes and in the things that the student considers to be difficult. The support is offered to students who feel that they need, for example, encouragement with doing tasks that have piled up, motivating, support with studying techniques, or help with practicing the Finnish language.
The K2K system gives students a friend to talk to when something is puzzling their minds, and also encouragement for advancing and finishing their studies. A retired person, for his part, gets a connection to the lives of youngsters, experiences and appreciation for his or her “silent knowledge” plus a meaningful opportunity to make a positive impact.
The K2K Kaveri Kaverille (A Friend to a Friend) is an ESR project between 2015 and 2017. Similar support activity has been offered to students in Landstede school in the Netherlands for 10 years with good results. We believe that there is a need for this type of a voluntary support system in the Finnish vocational education.
Leena Raitala, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +358 40 141 5311
Anna-Mari Saarela, email@example.com, Tel. +358 40 6618 123