Third-level education allows you to learn and practice skills that are needed to tackle the constantly changing demands of modern working life. What kind of skills are required from future professionals? What kind of skills can you learn through your studies to help you succeed in working life?
The jobs and careers of the future are often depicted as fragmented and the labour market is expected to be divided into tasks that are performed either globally or locally. In the future, experts will be aided by automation, and they will carry out their tasks in the constantly changing and often uncertain world of project work. Members of multidisciplinary teams will combine their different competencies to solve various problems, and the development of working life and modern working environments also require new additions to the skillsets available in the workforce.
“When we are no longer able to solve the questions related to work while sitting alone by our desks, we will need collaboration, which requires communication,” states Tarja Valkonen, senior lecturer at the University of Jyväskylä.
The studies provide students with a foundation for developing their skills further, and Valkonen considers it particularly important that education offers a good basic understanding of the significance of communication competence and skills in working life. Valkonen regards communication skills as an essential part of professional competence.
Listen, and don’t be afraid of conflicts
Experts work in teams every day and problem-solving is an essential part of the job. To ensure that your expertise is more than just invisible capital, you need argumentation skills, i.e. the ability to express your thoughts in a clear and well-grounded manner. In addition, you need to be able to ask the other team members to state their views, even the most critical ones. When trying to discover the best possible solution by taking advantage of multidisciplinary knowledge, the ability to ask questions is essential – not to mention the ability to listen to the answers.
“Working life requires high-quality listening skills that enable you to listen intensively and attentively while keeping an open mind to what the others are saying. You can also ponder whether you could learn something from their way of understanding things.”
According to Valkonen, even challenging situationscan be faced with the right attitude.
“Conflicts are an essential part of all human interaction. We have to deal with small conflicts and problem-solving all the time. It’s just a matter of how we view them.”
“In working life, when something is wrong, you often hear people casually refer to communication like it’s some kind of mystical personal chemistry. But usually it’s about lacking some aspect of communication skills, and that’s definitely something you can improve. Education is one of the best tools for that.”
Text: Suvi Mononen
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