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The technology sector is more versatile than girls in middle school had thought

A strong basic degree as well as language and communication skills are central in working life.
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‘Education in the technology sector opens doors to various career paths. The work involves international cooperation, so good skills in English and communication will take you far’, summarised women working in the technology sector for a room full of girls in junior high school in an event held 8 March 2018.

‘Studying technology opens huge opportunities in working life. In addition, the studies in this field are also fun’, said Carmela Kantor-Aaltonen from the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

Professor Hele Savin, last year’s recipient of the innovation award for women, told about her own career path as a researcher. ‘In upper secondary school, I didn’t know yet what my field would be. On the first courses at the Helsinki University of Technology, I quickly realised that I was studying the right field for me. A summer job in a research group sparked my interest in doing research. I found my field of research in the University of Berkeley where I was introduced to solar energy and its research. I understood that it is a field of the future’, explained Hele Savin.

‘Research is done together in an international group. In addition to doing research together, an important part of being a researcher is telling others about your results as much as possible.’

Professor Savin encouraged the students to go into the technology sector, but the most important thing is to choose a field based on what you are interested in: ‘No matter the field, you should choose it based on what you like.’

The students visited the Electrical Engineering Workshop where Kimmo Silvonen introduced coursework done by students: automatically operating curtains.

For Riitta Silvennoinen, her studies in chemical engineering have provided a basis for working in research as well as industry. Currently, she is employed in Sitra, working with tasks related to circular economy.

‘Studying natural sciences pays off because I can apply for tasks where I can truly have an impact on saving the world and therefore saving people.’

Student of Technology Saijariitta Kuokkanen agreed with the other speakers; the technology sector provides opportunities to work in a wide variety of tasks.

"Going on exchange during studies is becoming more popular still. But even if you didn't study abroad, there are thankfully many opportunities in working life to get international experience.

Marjo Äijälä from Borealis Polymers Oy encouraged the students to keep windows open in all directions.

‘Don’t close off any opportunities. In the technology sector, you don't graduate for any particular task; instead, you can do a variety of things. You should go without prejudice into this field that's talked about as a men’s field. What matters in working life is skill, not gender.’

Kaisa Junka from ABB said that the work in the technology sector is creative problem solving.

‘I urge you to apply for mechanical and electrical engineering because there are interesting tasks available in these fields.’

Aino Achrén and Ada-Lotta Virtanen, 9th grade students from Salo, thought the day was interesting.

‘The technology sector is different than we had imagined. It's more varied than I had thought.’

‘Today was an eye-opening experience. I had thought that you only sit at the computer if you're working in technology, but I learned that it involves a lot of working with other people and that going abroad is also possible.’

The event was finished with workshops on solar panels and Arduinos. In addition, the students got to make a fitness application for their own phones. The students were also introduced to the Aalto satellites and a virtual journey to space.

During the day, 90 middle school girls from the Armfelt school in Salo, Härkävehmaa school in Hyvinkää and Olari school in Espoo visited Aalto University.

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