The ‘work community development’ study program (210 ECTS, abbreviated as YP-TYKE in Finnish) is a branch of Humak’s community education studies that provides students with a proficiency to be employed as working life specialists. The program, which was introduced in 2017, has quickly become a popular way for working life professionals to enhance their competence. For the time being, the program is solely taught in Finnish.
The work community development program deals with the conventions of working life and seeks ways to promote well-being at workplaces. Furthermore, it examines topics such as employee involvement and the significance of fluent communications and cooperation for the prosperity of the work community.
Lecturer Pauliina Parhiala says that the feedback from students has largely been positive.
– With the diversity of backgrounds of students and teachers alike, the learning environment is diverse and enriching. The students value the opportunity exchange with one another. In the classroom, they get a snapshot of the sectors, roles and dynamics of the Finnish society, but also of any workplace, Parhiala says.
Pauliina Parhiala says that work community development students are encouraged to learn both individually and with one another.
– The pedagogical tools and learning methods are chosen so that they best benefit learning. We use everything from practical projects to e-learning, from theoretical frameworks and to-the-point research to development methods, which can be immediately deployed at the workplace, Parhiala says.
The program is conducted as multiform studies, i.e. they combine contact and remote teaching and can be completed while working full-time. The needs of the students’ own workplaces can be considered while planning the assignments and theses.
– There is a fair amount of flexibility and opportunities for the students to deploy the studies at their own workplace. This brings considerable benefits to their employers as well, Parhiala says.
The work community development program demands the applicants to have prior work experience from their field. The most recent joint application of spring 2020 encouraged HR professionals with more than five years of experience to apply for the program.
Pauliina Parhiala says that the students generally have work experience from a diversity of sectors, but also from different types of professions and roles at the workplace. Students have worked variously in the private, public, and third sectors.
– Some enroll to the studies with an expert background, others have worked as managers or as trade union representatives. This helps us to simulate the dynamics of the workplace in the classroom, but also gives the students the freedom to explore different roles, approaches and opinions while studying. According to the feedback, many students find this exciting but also liberating. The diversity in the class room is our great strength.