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Lower secondary school pupils on a period of work experience at Orion – “it’s important for young people to find out what a normal day at work is like”

Five lower secondary school pupils came to find out about the world of work and Orion in May. The week-long period of TET work experience was organised for the first time in cooperation with the Children and Youth Foundation.

At the end of May, five lower secondary school pupils completed a period of TET work experience at Orion’s headquarters in Espoo as part of their comprehensive school studies. Orion has offered work experience to young people before, but they have usually been the children of Orionees. This year the company tried a new way of helping young people find out more about the world of work.

“We do get a certain number of enquiries about TET placements, so in the HR department we started to think about a good and viable way of employing TET pupils in an organised way,” says HR Coordinator Meeri Hannula.

The Children and Youth Foundation, which coordinates the search for TET placements and advertises jobs via the website, was chosen as a partner. The Children and Youth Foundation looks for different types of companies to be partners, and young people can apply for a placement at a company that interests them to learn about work. 

“The service offers companies different ways to get involved. We decided to try a method where a small group of 4–6 young people at a time come to work with us as a team for a week,” Hannula says.

A decision on whether to extend the practice to Turku next autumn, for example, will be made based on the trial in Espoo in May.

A week of getting to know Orion and experiencing work

The work experience programme was based on instructions and tips from the Children and Youth Foundation. The programme for the beginning of the week included presentations and getting to know the company and its people.

“We are a big company and there is always a lot going on here. We told the young people about our company, communications, and our sustainability work,” Hannula says.

The youngsters also had the chance to visit the production facilities and to see with their own eyes how medicines are made and manufactured. Within the week the youngsters spread out across the organisation and spent the day with their own Orion mentor finding out more about and observing a normal working day. 

“What are meetings like, and what does an office or meeting room look like? For young people, who are not at all familiar with working life, it is important to be able to observe a normal working day,” says Hannula.

Future dream job

The programme for the end of the week included a project related to the future of work and the young people’s perspective of what Orion’s future will look like. The project started with a brainstorming session to come up with ways to make Orion a better place to work. The work experience pupils made sharp observations about the daily life of our company. The pupils were delighted with the solar panels on the roofs, and they also appreciated the light and modern premises. 

They came up with some excellent requests and suggestions for improvements: 

  • free food,
  • permission to bring pets to work,
  • warmer, less air-conditioned workspaces,
  • cupboards in meeting rooms,
  • renovation of the basement level.

The period of work experience ended on Friday with the pupils’ presentations of their project work to the HR team and the Orionees who were introduced to the pupils during the week.

“I hope that the work experience pupils gained a lot of new knowledge about our company and learned how to be good team players. I’m sure it was an exciting week for them, and it was nice to notice that by the end of the week they were already brave enough to greet familiar members of staff with a smile,” says Hannula.

In the feedback survey, the young people said that during the TET week they had learned new skills that will certainly be useful later in their working lives: 

“Responsibility and teamwork skills. I learned how to give a presentation. I realised that you don't always have to take things too seriously.”

They also got to know Orion and its different operations:

“I learned about pharmaceutical manufacturing and what it's like at the workplace in general. I learned a lot about Orion as a company and also about how varied the jobs in one company can be.”