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First contact with working life – This is what working at Orion is like through the eyes of a ninth-grader

Yrityskylä Secondary School is a gamified learning concept that provides information about work and the economy. Minttu Saarimäki, a ninth-grader from Espoo, worked as Head of Corporate Responsibility in the Orion game at Yrityskylä. “I learned a lot about the pharmaceutical industry, working and corporate operations – and what a margin means.”

Valuable insights into the realms of work, economy, entrepreneurship, and society.
This is what the Yrityskylä concept for primary and secondary school children is all about. The learning module organised by Junior Achievement (JA) Finland consists of Yrityskylä lessons and an unforgettable day in the learning environment. As many as 88 percent of ninth-graders in Finland participate in the learning module.  
“At Yrityskylä, young individuals have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the real-world work experience, discover insights about actual companies, and acquire new knowledge in an inspiring manner. Through this method, many concepts become significantly clearer to students compared to traditional theoretical instruction alone,” says Netta Jukarainen, Specialist at JA. 
Orion has been participating in Yrityskylä Primary School for several years. This year, we renewed the concept in the secondary school programme. In the Yrityskylä Secondary School concept Orion’s business operations have been gamified into role-play, where ninth-graders run a company in the international market.  
In the game, the students work together as a team on the production, marketing and sale of vitamin D and on responsible operations. The students choose the role that suits them best and they remain in the same role throughout the game. The team that achieves the highest business result and reputation score wins the game.  

The meaningfulness of work matters

Minttu Saarimäki, a student from Saarnilaakso Upper Comprehensive School, worked as Orion’s Head of Corporate Responsibility in Yrityskylä. She took care of matters such as how to provide information on Orion to summer employees and what kind of employee benefits are offered. She was also responsible for collaboration with influencers on social media on the subject of reducing plastic in Orion’s operations. 
“I chose the role because it allowed me to use my creativity and because meaningfulness of work is something that is important to me. During the day, I learned a lot about the pharmaceutical industry, the world of work and the company’s operations. And what a margin means,” Saarimäki says.  
Her classmate Einar Lindholm also gained a good impression of Orion as a company. He worked as Head of Production in the game. 
“I'm interested in the field of science and the pharmaceutical industry, so I was delighted to hear that Orion was one of the companies in the game. A day at Yrityskylä reinforced my understanding of the pharmaceutical sector and how meaningful working there is,” says Lindholm. 

Young people worried about the future of work

According to JA’s report on the future, a third of students in lower and upper secondary education are worried about what life at work will be like.  
Young people wonder whether they will find an interesting job, whether they will earn enough money and have sufficient mental and physical resources. The perception of working life gained from one’s own parents can also increase uncertainty about working.  
“The experience offered by Yrityskylä provides a positive perspective and practical information about the world of work. Young people are given the opportunity to find out about companies and roles they might not necessarily have heard of. The game also shows the fun, rewarding nature of teamwork and the benefits of working together in a new light,” says Jukarainen.

Positive feedback on Orion’s game 

For businesses, participating in Yrityskylä provides a great opportunity to share information about their industry and get feedback on the attractiveness of this from the perspective of children and young people.  
“We believe that this will allow us to increase awareness of Orion and the pharmaceutical industry among students and to offer them their first positive experiences of life at work,” says Verna Vuorinen, Orion’s Communications Specialist, who participated in designing the concept. 
During a school year, 6,000 ninth-graders visit Yrityskylä, and a significant share of them will participate in the Orion game during winter and spring.  
“Based on the most recent feedback, 70 percent of the participants in the Orion game expressed the belief that the skills acquired from the game would be essential for their future,” says Jukarainen.