Sustainability and flexibility at Jamk School of Business by Paula Hokkanen

I did my practical training in Jamk School of Business’ Continuous Learning and Business Services team. I landed the position by connections and chance. My friend knew I was looking for a paid internship and what kind of tasks I am interested in, and the leader of her team offered me a trainee position.

The training period started in May 2022 and lasted until November (part-time hours). As everyone in Jamk was on their summer holidays, I worked remotely by myself the whole summer. My job description for the practical training was very versatile. One of the main tasks included planning and doing background research for a textile industry project that had been in the making. During the summer I read academic journals and relevant information about circular economy in the textile industry, whilst creating a Webropol survey for suitable companies. In the autumn I arranged a few interviews with the survey respondents to get a more in-depth view of their situation. I also had meetings with Jamk’s project and R&D personnel and researched potential project fundings and their focus areas. At the end of the training period, I summarised my key findings and the outcome of the project planning and future uses.

The other main task for the team was creating a sustainable development Moodle course for external students (for example via unemployment services). I learnt to use Moodle in a teacher role and got the hang of it quickly. I created the contents for the course with the help of other team members, excluding the pedagogical knowledge that I did not have. I arranged a small pilot testing and got feedback from students. I poured all my sustainability enthusiasm into the course, as I have quite the knowledge base on the subject. My work with Moodle landed me another contract right after the trainee period.

I was also permitted to use practical training hours to take part in two Polku 2.0 project courses, which were Carbon Footprint Calculation and Water Sustainability. I used the knowledge I gained there for the trainee tasks and thereby increasing my expertise. As I was the student representative of Jamk’s Sustainable Development working group, I did some trainee hours for them as well. I assisted the group with Jamk’s roadmap for sustainability by compiling background information to support the presentations to Jamk’s manager board. I suggested that Jamk should apply for the Fairtrade University certification as soon as possible. The decision was made, and I got to start up the application process during the trainee period. I wrote an article about the decision and got myself photographed.

The key takeaway from my experiences is that Jamk is a very versatile organisation and there are a lot of things invisible to the regular student. If you manage to make yourself known, you will certainly have the opportunity to do really meaningful work. The knowledge that Jamk students have is honestly appreciated. All in all, I am grateful for the flexibility of Jamk and the Continuous Learning and Business Services team. I do not think I could have studied, do practical training, my student representative work, participate in Polku project’s courses and be part of JAMKO’s board if I had done my practical training period outside Jamk. Not to mention work in an environment where I can focus on my core interests. The feedback I received from my supervisors was very positive. I started working very quickly and got the hang of tasks fast, I was extremely organised and had natural interaction and sales skills in business meetings. 

I have had the amazing opportunity to increase my skills and expertise in sustainable development, corporate environmental management, CSR, circular economy, projects, creativity and organising whilst linking it all to the textile industry, which is also my passion. I never imagined I could combine all of these under one organisation and constantly gain more knowledge and learn something new. The training period has really helped me clarify what it is that I want to do for a living, and where I am aiming for master’s level. I will continue working in the same team for the year 2023, but in a different project.

Author: Paula Hokkanen