“I’ve smiled so much my cheeks hurt” – World’s largest virtual work experience event offered over 10,000 teenagers information about work in the financial sector

Danske Bank’s summer employee Amanda Alho and Talent Acquisition Partner Sanna Rännäli took the participants for a virtual visit at Danske Bank.
  • Coordinated by Junior Achievement Finland, the world’s largest virtual TET work experience period broke records with more than 10,000 lower and upper secondary school pupils and students attending. In 2022, the event attracted a little over 6,000 participants, so the previous record was broken by a wide margin.
  • Organised between 6 and 10 November 2023, this year’s event was the third virtual TET in which Finance Finland and its member companies took part.
  • The participating financial sector companies were Danske Bank, Ilmarinen, LocalTapiola, Nordea, OP Financial Group, POP Bank Group, SEB, S-Bank and Varma.
  • The financial sector offers employment to about 45,000 people in Finland. Diverse expertise from law and mathematics to IT and HR expertise is needed in the sector.

The objective of the virtual TET work experience week is to help young people gain a general understanding of the world of work and career opportunities in different sectors regardless of where they live. The week kicked off with the financial sector’s day on Monday, 6 November. Later in the week, participants learned about work in the commerce sector, the chemistry and energy sector, the service sector and the tourism and hospitality sector.

The world’s largest virtual TET fulfilled expectations both in terms of content and participant numbers. This year, over 10,000 young people signed up, meaning that last year’s record was broken by about 4,000 participants.

Finance Finland and its member companies took part in the event for the third time. This year, the financial sector had the honour of starting the week off. During the financial sector’s day, young people got to see a wide cross-section of work in the financial sector. Nine financial sector companies had created content repurposing popular TV formats, with adaptations including Secret Working Lives (a play on the popular Finnish soap opera Salatut elämät), Just Working Life (a play on Vain elämää, the Finnish version of the Best Singers) and Hired at First Sight (a play on the reality show Married at First Sight).

“The financial sector’s day was highly successful, at least from our perspective as the organisers. The day was intense but rewarding, and my cheeks actually hurt from smiling so much. It was such a joy to see how much effort companies had put into creating their content. The companies managed to offer our young participants a comprehensive overview of what the financial sector does and what kinds of expertise is needed in the sector. Based on the chat conversations, I believe that the participants were also very happy with the day”, says Pirita Ruokonen, head of public affairs and responsibility at Finance Finland.

Snapshots of sections hosted by OP Financial Group, LocalTapiola, S-Bank and Nordea.

A peek into Secret Working Lives and Hired at First Sight

In Nordea’s Hired at First Sight section, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist Kaisa Kuitunen led the participants through the ins and outs of job interviews. Thanks to lessons from Nordea, the participants now have a firm grasp of job interview dress codes and answers to tricky interview questions. Nordea also took the participants for a virtual visit of its offices.

The Voice of Working Life showcased the voices of financial sector superstars. Led by Susan Orfinskiji from OP Financial Group, the participants learned that financial sector jobs also include those of social media professionals and that even banks can be on TikTok. In LocalTapiola’s special news broadcast, the participants got to meet insurance agents at work, learning first hand about the kinds of roles LocalTapiola’s experts have. Natural World of Work took the participants to the streets of Salmisaari, where Varma’s HRD Manager Pauliina Heiskanen offered an overview of what responsibility and sustainability mean at Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company.

Snapshots of sections hosted by POP Bank Group, SEB, Ilmarinen and Varma.

Corporate bank SEB, Danske Bank and Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company invited the participants to visit their offices. At the Nordic financial sector company SEB, young people learned that Finnish is by no means the only language used in the sector and that language studies come in handy also in the financial sector. At Ilmarinen, participants got to see how a typical week of Ilmarinen’s customer service summer employees Oona Siltala, Irene Helminen and Milla Tikkanen looks like. Based on her experience of working at Danske Bank last summer, Amanda Alho talked about working in bank customer service.

The financial sector needs people with various backgrounds. This was illustrated by POP Bank Group in its episode of Secret Working Lives, where Tommi Jokinen, current account manager and former professional hockey player, and Yasmin Vikiönkorpi, development manager who started her studies in the Netherlands, shared how their career paths led them to the financial sector.

In addition to people with various backgrounds, the world of work also needs people with various strengths. These strengths do not have to be laden with superlatives: being ordinary can also be a strength. This was the message of S-Bank’s Human Resources Specialist Eini Järvi and Head of Coaching Emilia Simola in the company’s episode of Just Working Life, which offered participants new perspectives on finding their strengths and playing to them.

Before the roundup at the end of the day, Pirita Ruokonen, the day’s host, discussed with Ilmarinen’s Sports Instructor Elsi Luomi and Local Tapiola’s HRD Director Milla Laukkarinen about wellbeing at work and how it can be maintained and improved.

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Pirita Ruokonen

Head of Public Affairs and Responsibility