For many pupils in their final year at comprehensive school work experience (TET, in Finnish) is their first real taste of working life. During their TET period pupils generally do mechanical tasks: fill and empty a dishwasher or make coffee. Ninth-graders Jessica Markkula, Maria Hiltunen and Mimosa Mäkelä spent two weeks getting to know IHME. But this was no ordinary work experience, it was Kulttuuri-TET, or cultural work experience.
Ordinarily pupils on TET arrive at the workplace solo, with no interview and no run-through of working skills. With Kulttuuri-TET the young people usually arrive in a group. Participants get to do a joint creative project that corresponds more closely to actual working life and its challenges. Kulttuuri-TET pupils are actually beneficial to employers, and it is worth investing time and effort in them. Before starting, pupils attend a job interview at the work-experience site. Kulttuuri-TET also includes a run-through of the basics of working life.
“We acted as IHME’s test group and searched for information on the Festival’s website. We used this information-search task to try out the website’s ease of use,” says Maria Hiltunen. “We have got to know about various jobs and about working life in general. During our time here, we have taken part in meetings and social-media training. We also attended a Helsinki Youth Department meeting where they planned what would happen at the Reaktori ‘skiing-holiday’ youth event in Helsinki next February,” says Jessica Markkula. Trips out of the office also gave us a chance to take a look behind the scenes at what a producer does. “We visited the Kino Andorra cinema to test-view films. It was nice that we got to join in,” Hiltunen says happily.
Meanwhile, the TET pupils own project involved social media, which the 15-year-olds know better than IHME’s office staff. “We set up an account in IHME’s name on the Snapchat quick-messaging service and designed some content for it. We also interviewed the IHME team for Snapchat,” says Mimosa Mäkelä.
So, who would IHME’s TET pupils recommend Kulttuuri-TET to? Their view is that cultural work experience suits those who want to do more creative work, and who enjoy expressing themselves, and also pupils who want to get a realistic idea of working life. Kulttuuri-TET requires an open mind and a positive attitude.
Written by: Jessica Markkula, Maria Hiltunen and Mimosa Mäkelä, Latokartano Comprehensive School