Matkailudiili – Tourism deal of Finland
I wrote an article about Matkailudiili in June. I here resume the main points and if you wish to read the whole article, please click this link: Matkailudiili
Tourism industry is growing faster than ever in Finland and causing very positive atmosphere among the professionals. But there are also challenges to solve. One of the biggest problems for employers in Finland is to find motivated and skilled professionals to hire. Employers and employees have challenges to meet each other in hospitality business, especially in restaurants, but during the high season there is lack of employees in very many different tasks in several parts in Finland.
To solve this problem as well as making Tourism better known as an attractive industry to work, The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland has launched the project called Matkailudiili – Tourism deal.
From Mood of Finland to Mood of Learning
Mood of Finland has been selected as one of the companies piloting services to solve the problems mentioned above as well as promoting Tourism as an industry full of opportunities.
The concrete service will be Orientation Program offered on internet, based on the results we have gathered from workshops and carried out by using videos, pictures, comics and music, based on innovative pedagogical manuscript. We aim to help foreigners living in Finland or willing to move to Finland to have significant work in Finland. As well we want to help the companies to find skilled staff in easier way and offer proper orientation program for all.
The second step of the project: understanding the otherness
As one part of our pilot is to test the Orientation Program with foreigners interested in to come to work in Finland, I have contacted a potential group in Spain.
I have been contacting the head of the school, José Murgui Gárcia (on the right site of the picture above) during the last couple of months from Finland by mail and mobile calls and do admit, that it´s defenetely better to negotiate face to face. We were starting to misunderstand each other but after my visit everything is clear.
There is a group of seven kitchen employees/ cooks and three waiters attending a continuing training program in a Spanish vocational hospitality school (Fores) in Valdepeñas, in Castilla La Mancha province. One months´ traineeship has been included as the last module of their eight months´ training with the goal of being able to stay to work at least one season in Finland – if everything runs as expected.
As you can see in the pictures of this article, the students are adults and many of them have been working for years in hospitality business. Some of them don´t have so much experience, but they all have great attitude and they are very motivated to come to Finland – even though, to be honest, there are some challenges to solve.
Do you speak English?
When we started the co-operation, one of the main criterias was the language skill. Finnish hospitality companies can offer nowadays work for foreigners who don´t speak Finnish, but English is required as there are plenty of companies working in very international atmosphere and with multicultural clientele.
One of the first points to understand the otherness is to understand that not all are so strict as we in Finland when assessing own skills – specially in languages. We dare to say we can speak a foreign language when we talk it in almost native level. But in many other countries as it is in Spain, it´s not a shame if you just know some basic words and phares and try hard to make others to understand you.
The pilot group comes from Spanish inland where tourism is not so important industry neither they have been in contact with international tourists – and had not been practicing foreign languages. It also need to be considered that Spanish is the second most spoken mother language in the world, so spaniards can travel, study and work abroad even without learning other languages.
However it´s not a justification for our pilot group not to speak English and they now promised to study English. They have been offered an extra eLearning course of 120 hours to study before coming to Finland. Hopefully they keep on having the positive attitude and they do speak some more English in couple of months. They didn´t seem to think it´s a problem and they even asked to have Opportunities not to work together so that they need to force themselves to learn English ( or Finnish as they also promised!).
I also had a meeting with some Tourism professionals in Alicante area and it´s obvious that people living and working costal areas, among international tourists, have better language skills. But they also have better oportunities to work.
What kind of shoes we need to wear?
After language skills came the questions about everyday life in Finland. Most of the worries were caused by the weather, the dressing code and understanding what to wear in wintertime. They have been searching information on internet but were happy to get very practical tips. This is going to be very important part also in our orientation program.
Of course they were also interested in to know facts about working life as salaries, working hours, management, workplace hierarcy and living conditions. They also asked about typical Finnish dishes and their teacher got interest to teach them some dishes during their last cooking lessons before coming to Finland!
Is it the attitude which is valued the most?
When employers are asked to tell the most important skills they expect the employees to have, they very often mention the attitude. They tend to say that all the other skills can be taught.
When having multicultural working environment, these thoughts must be remeed and also tell in very open way what kind of expectations there are to the employees. I have been working in Spain for ten years and still remember the differences in working culture. I also remember the dificulties I had when I started to work again in Finland. Attitude is also very important part when creating the spirit of the company´s working environment.
Mood of Learning
We are opening a new way of connecting people by working together. In Finland we don´t have so much experience of the multicultural working environments and after visiting the pilot group I think I understand the challenges much better.
As conclusion I would like to point out this model we have now launched; cooperation with local Hospitality schools is a very good start; the employees coming to Finland have been selected by the school, traineeship can be included as part of the training or work can be offered to graduated students.
We want to offer an orientation program which truly helps foreigners to settle to our society and in the other hand we want to help the tourism companies to get practical tips about how to manage the multicultural working environment – and for all this we are gathering information.
Positive attitude and openness are good values to start. We keep on studying our target groups by organizing workshops in Rovaniemi, Turku and Eastern Finland. We also start to make inspiring learning material to our eLearning platform and soon the Matkailudiili characters designed by Skoudesign will be published!
Keep on following us by #matkailudiili #mood_of_finland.
If you understand Finnish, please, visit also the official page of Matkailutyo.