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How to get companies in the metal industry more employees and more students for the master’s degree programme?

‘The great thing about this cooperation is that everyone wins,’ said Ari Jokilaakso, Professor of metallurgy.
Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

Aalto University, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK), Satakunta’s metals processing companies and the City of Pori have started cooperation, which will help Aalto get larger numbers of motivated master's students and the metal industry and technology companies in the Satakunta region highly trained experts. The cooperation also increases SAMK's attractiveness as a place to study.

As part of the cooperation, a study module tailored for energy and environmental engineering students starts at SAMK in autumn 2020.  After completing the module, students have a better chance of being accepted into the Sustainable Metals Processing major at the Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering. Tailored studies provide students with expertise that enables them to succeed in their studies at Aalto University. The study module is designed to offer the same skills as the bachelor's degree programme in chemical engineering.

‘It is possible to apply directly to Aalto's master's programmes from the university of applied sciences. However, we have noticed that not all graduates of the university of applied sciences have sufficient mathematical skills to succeed in their studies,’ Ari Jokilaakso, Professor of metallurgy said.

More applicants to Aalto

For Ari Jokilaakso, cooperation with operators from Satakunta has become his passion. He is hopeful that in the future the main subject of the master's programme will bring good students to Satakunta.

‘Metal industry studies have not been attractive enough to students because young people think of a polluting industry, although in reality it is a sector that in the future will save the world.’

For example, because of electric cars, we need more different kinds of metals. Therefore, we need to develop the production of metals so that we have enough of the metals we require and we can meet the needs of increasing demand. In addition, all metals should be recycled back into metal production, which will also have to be done without fossil fuels in the future. Highly trained experts are needed to enable the circular economy.

Summer job in your home region

SAMK students have the opportunity to study at a university level that maintains the bond and connection with their home region. The companies involved in the collaboration are committed to providing students with summer jobs and jobs for master’s students doing their thesis. The studies would bring the student to Otaniemi for 1.5 years but during the last six months of the two years master programme the student could do their master’s thesis in their home municipality.

‘Returning to Satakunta could be challenging if, for example, you have already started a family during your studies. A spouse may not be able to find work so easily.’

Metal industry companies in the Satakunta region suffer from a shortage of highly skilled labour. By hiring students for summer jobs, they can get them committed to the company at a very early stage. The sector is a major employer in Finland, as the metal processing industry accounts for 12-15% of Finnish exports.

The first engineers from SAMK will be able to apply for Aalto's master's programme in the next application round. Ari Jokilaakso will be happy if the number of applicants increases by 5-10.

‘There were more than 20 interested students at the briefing event, so it is looking promising.’

In addition to Aalto University, the City of Pori and SAMK, Outotec, Nornickel, Aurubis, Boliden Harjavalta, Cupori and Luvata are involved in the cooperation.

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