International students struggle to find employment – cooperation created internships in start-ups

In the Haaga-Helia and Herizon pilot, 18 international students received an IT internship from a start-up company.

Kv-opiskelijoiden työllistyminen takkuaa – yhteistyöllä luotiin harjoittelupaikkoja startupeissa
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During the spring, Haaga-Helia piloted Herizon Growth Hacking Internship programme with the Helsinki-based NGO Herizon. Results of the quickly launched pilot are promising: in the first round, 18 IT students and companies were matched. Through internships in the tech industry, students gained valuable working life experience, and companies gained experts at the beginning of their careers. Currently, traineeships are being sought for a new group of nearly 20 students.

– Students from international backgrounds face many challenges in the Finnish labour market. In March, we launched the pilot quickly when we realised that this way, we could help our students find employment, says Vejay Nair, International Affairs Specialist at Haaga-Helia.

Haaga-Helia is the first higher education institution to cooperate with Herizon. Based on the feedback received from the pilot, the collaboration offers internship opportunities for students who have difficulty finding them. Finding an internship also helps students graduate on time.

From pilot to permanent operation

In the pilot of the Herizon Growth Hacking Internship programme, 50 possible internship positions were created for Haaga-Helia's students. In the program, trainees learn holistic growth hacking, understand system thinking, and how to build organizational knowledge through data-oriented experimentation. Interns gain access to Herizon's digital environment and then work with local businesses.

Haaga-Helia's goal is to move from the pilot phase to more permanent operations.

– Our international students have been excited about this opportunity. They would not have thought to look for internships in start-ups themselves, and the program has helped them see new kinds of job opportunities, guidance counsellor Liila Mäntylä Peuralinna from Haaga-Helia says.

People at Herizon were impressed by Haaga-Helia's commitment to promoting the employment of international students through agile experimentation.

– As a venture capitalist, I have noticed the challenges faced by local technology companies in internationalisation and developing team diversity. International experts already studying in Finland offer a natural solution to this problem, provided the need and supply find each other, Herizon’s founder and Haaga-Helia alum Mari Luukkainen says.

Herizon, which is a non-profit organization, aims to make the tech world more diverse by linking international talent with jobs in the Nordics. Herizon’s goal is to secure jobs for 10,000 people across the Nordics by the end of 2027.

International Affairs Specialist
International Affairs Specialist
+358 294471527
viestinnän asiantuntija
Communication Specialist
+358 294471166