Frequently asked questions about traineeships

The instruction belongs to the following themes

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

On this page you can find some frequently asked questions concerning traineeship and read the brief general instructions on the traineeship process. Please first read though carefully the answers on this page and familiarize yourself with the information provided though the links attached. If after reading the instructions you are still unsure about something, you can send an email to traineeships@helsinki.fi.    

Traineeship in a nutshell

Read the brief general instructions on traineeships.

  1. Read the degree programme-specific traineeship instructions
  2. Find a traineeship. Read the relevant instructions.
  3. Once you have secured a traineeship position, ensure that you have an employment contract.  Also, verify with the traineeship coordinator of your degree programme that the position is suitable for your studies.
  4. If the employer requires that the traineeship must be subsidised by the University of Helsinki, apply for the funding according to the instructions. Read the instructions for concluding the traineeship agreement.
  5. Prepare carefully for the traineeship period and make the most of it as a learning experience. Read the tips.
  6. In order to obtain credit for the traineeship, a traineeship report is typically required. More information is available from the traineeship coordinator or the instructions provided by your degree programme. Remember to ask for a certificate of employment at the end of your traineeship! 
  7. See After your traineeship website for what you should do after your traineeship has ended.

General questions

How do I know if a traineeship is required for my studies?

All degrees completed at the University of Helsinki include either a compulsory or an elective traineeship period.

NB! Not all traineeships are eligible for the University’s traineeship subsidy.

Please read though the Degree programme-specific traineeship instructions and the page Traineeship funding and salary.

Is it possible to substitute the traineeship with a recognition of prior work experience?

Yes. Read though the instructions of your own degree programme. Please note that if you substitute the traineeship by using the course code for the funded traineeship course, you cannot later apply for the traineeship subsidy in order to do another traineeship.

Is it possible to do an unpaid traineeship?

A traineeship can also be unpaid, and you will receive the credits from it normally. However, the University does not recommend doing an unpaid traineeship.

What if I am not able to get a traineeship position, but a traineeship is a required part of my degree?

You can discuss options for carrying out the traineeship with the teacher responsible for the traineeship course at your degree programme. It is usually possible to carry out the traineeship in an alternate way.

What kind of positions and employers are suitable for traineeships?

A traineeship organisation may be a company, a central or local government, a non-governmental organisation, a foundation or a cooperative either in Finland or abroad. An employer receiving funding for a traineeship provided by the University cannot be a private individual.

Information about the typical traineeship positions in your field can be found on the Degree programme-specific traineeship instructions or the training officer and the teacher responsible for the traineeship course in your degree programme.

Applying for a traineeship

Where can I find a traineeship position?

Traineeship offers can be found in many job search portals.

Bear in mind that not all traineeships are advertised! Taking initiative and being active may well result in a traineeship position. Find out about employers that are of interest to you and do not be shy to contact them.

More information can be found on the page Available jobs and traineeships.

 

University’s traineeship subsidy and its criteria

The eligibility criteria for the University’s traineeship funding can on the page Traineeship funding and salary.

 How does the University subsidy work?

The subsidy is intended to support students who have not completed their traineeship to find a position. The subsidy is not paid to the student, but to the employer to cover part of the salary costs incurred to the employer from hiring the student. At the end of the traineeship, the employer can invoice the university for the subsidy in accordance with the traineeship agreement concluded between the university and the employer. The subsidy per student is € 1800.

What is the duration of the funded traineeship?

The minimum duration of a funded traineeship is always a period corresponding with at least two months of full-time employment. The maximum duration of a traineeship is six months of full-time employment and, for a part-time traineeship, an amount of work corresponding to six months.

Can the traineeship be completed in part-time employment?

Yes, the traineeship can be completed as part-time work. Ensure that the traineeship meets the required minimum duration set for traineeships. If the minimum duration of the traineeship is two months of full-time work, this also applies to traineeships completed as part-time work. The easiest solution is to extend the overall duration of the traineeship. For example, a part-time traineeship with 50% of regular working hours must last at least four months if the minimum duration of the traineeship has been set at two months.

Can I do my master’s thesis as a part of the funded traineeship?

Duties related to a master’s thesis do not meet the criteria of a funded traineeship. A funded traineeship cannot include the writing of the thesis, which must be completed independently.

Can I receive the University funding for my traineeship if my employer pays me no salary?

No, you cannot. The requirement for the University’s traineeship subsidy is that the employer pays the student at least the monthly salary corresponding to the minimum wage as defined by Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (€ 1,283 per month in 2022). The subsidy is not paid to the student, but to the employer, who can invoice the University for the subsidy at the end of the traineeship. The subsidy is meant to cover part of the salary costs incurred to the employer from hiring the student.

For traineeships completed abroad without pay, students can apply for an Erasmus grant or a travel grant for international traineeships.

Applying for traineeship funding

When can I apply for funding for my traineeship?

You can apply for the University’s traineeship subsidy when you have found an employer who requires that the University subsidises your traineeship. There is no specific application period, so applications are accepted throughout the year. However, verify with your degree programme at which stage of your studies you can complete the subsidised traineeship.

Before applying, verify that you are eligible for the university traineeship subsidy.

How quickly are the traineeship funding applications processed?

The decision on granting the funding will be send over in the week following the submission of the application.

Can I apply for the University’s traineeship subsidy if I have already gotten the credits from the funded traineeship course?

If you have already completed the funded traineeship course, you cannot apply for the subsidy regardless of if you have not yet been granted a subsidy earlier.

What should I do when the prospective employer wants verification of the traineeship subsidy at the application stage?

If an employer requires that your application indicate whether you have been granted University funding for the traineeship, verify from the section University funding for traineeships whether you are eligible to apply for the funding. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria, you can indicate in the application that you are entitled to receive the University’s traineeship subsidy. If you are uncertain about whether you fulfill the criteria, you can contact Career Services by email at traineeships@helsinkin.fi

In the case of students applying for a traineeship in foreign service (Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish missions abroad), Career Services can provide an advance confirmation of the student's eligibility to apply for the traineeship funding. Such a confirmation will only be provided to students who have received an invitation for an interview and who fulfill the eligibility criteria to apply for traineeship funding. You may request the confirmation from Career Services by email at traineeships@helsinki.fi. Indicate in your message the traineeship position that you are applying for. Advance confirmation for traineeship funding will be provided for traineeships in foreign service only.

If you are selected to a traineeship which requires the University's traineeship subsidy, apply for the subsidy using the online application form for a traineeship subsidy (E-lomake).

The minimum length of the traineeship in my programme is one month. Can I get the University subsidy for a traineeship of this length?

Even though it is possible to get the credits from a shorter traineeship, the eligible criterion for the funded traineeship is that the minimum length is at least a period corresponding with at least two months of full-time employment.

Traineeship's salary, working time and contracts

How do I know what the daily or weekly working time is for my full-time traineeship?

Full-time working time is determined by the collective agreement. Usually, the weekly working time is set at 35-40 hours. If there is no collective agreement the trainee can work at most eight-hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Please note that the minimum duration of a funded traineeship is always a period corresponding with at least two months of full-time employment. Part-time work prolongs the duration of the traineeship.

Traineeships abroad

Can the University’s traineeship subsidy be used for a traineeship taking place abroad?

Yes, University funding can be used for traineeships both in and outside Finland. There are also other funding opportunities for international traineeships.

What other funding opportunities are there for traineeships taking place abroad?

If you wish to complete a traineeship outside Finland, you can apply for Erasmus traineeship funding, an international traineeship grant or the University’s traineeship funding. Read more about the funding opportunities on the page Apply for a traineeship abroad.

The salary level in my country where my traineeship takes place is lower than in Finland. Does my salary still have to be at least the minimum wage as defined by KELA (for a subsidized traineeship)?

Yes, the criterion for the minimum salary is the same regardless of where you complete your traineeship, if the traineeship is subsidized by the University.

What kind of options are there for completing a traineeship abroad?

More information on how to find a traineeship position abroad can be found on the page Apply for a traineeship abroad.

Can I apply for an Erasmus grant for a traineeship if I have received the University’s traineeship subsidy earlier?

Yes, you can, provided that your grant application is for a different traineeship. You can receive only one traineeship subsidy at a time from the University of Helsinki. In addition, you cannot receive traineeship funding from the National Agency for Education and the University at the same time. The traineeship must also always be integrated into a degree.

Problematic situation during the traineeship

What happens if the traineeship is not completed? Can I still get credits from it?

Approval of the traineeship course is always decided in the degree programme, so if your traineeship finishes before its official end date, please contact the responsible teacher for the course.

If you have received the University’s traineeship funding for your unfinished traineeship, please contact the Career Services right away (traineeships@helsinki.fi).

What kind of rights do I have during the traineeship?

The trainee is under the same collective labour agreement as other personnel working at the organization. The trainee shall follow the same working hours as other employees with corresponding duties in the same unit. The trainee’s right to paid holiday is determined according to the vacation law and the collective labour agreement followed in the agency, institute or company where the trainee works.

What if my work tasks are not what were agreed on?

First and foremost, discuss the situation with the supervisor of your traineeship. If you are completing a funded traineeship, you can contact the Career services if necessary.

What if I experience inappropriate behavior or harassment during my traineeship?

The University of Helsinki disapproves of any kind of inappropriate behaviour, bullying or harassment. If you experience inappropriate behaviour during your traineeship, you can contact the Career Services, the HYY Student Union’s or the University’s harassment contact persons, the Finnish Student Health Service or the Nyyti student support centre.

 

For new students

Why should I start career and traineeship planning already in the beginning of my studies?

When you start the planning for a traineeship and your future career already in the beginning of your studies, you have the opportunity to make use of the different services offered by the Career services and other actors of the University. To be able to time and make room for a traineeship in your degree, you also have make plans early enough in your studies.

When doing career and traineeship planning, you can make use of

  • traineeship information sessions
  • materials on the Instructions for students
  • the help of the career counsellors and traineeship specialists
  • job seeking and traineeship guidance
  • workshops
  • work life events
  • traineeship subsidy and
  • group mentoring programmes

You can find more information on these services from the Instructions for Students themes Traineeships and Work and career; you can e.g. bookmark the page Career services

If you are interested in entrepreneurship, keep in mind the different incubator and challenge programmes available, such as the ones offered by Helsinki incubators and Helsinki Think Company.

Where should I start when planning my traineeship?

Firstly, get to know your study programme’s traineeship instructions. They will usually tell in which stage of your studies you should ideally time your traineeship. The instructions or Sisu’s description of the traineeship course should also mention how many credits you will get from the course and how long the traineeship should be. They also describe what kind of assignments you should do to complete the course.

It is also essential to develop your self-reflection skills and the ability to articulate your motivation, goals and skillset.

Information on the typical traineeship placements in your programme can be found on the page Degree programme-specific traineeship instructions, from the coordinator of your programme or the responsible teacher of the traineeship programme.

Is it possible to substitute the traineeship with a recognition of prior work experience?

In most cases, yes. Read though the instructions of your own degree programme. If you want to apply for the University’s traineeship subsidy during your on-going degree (or at least maintain the possibility to do so), you should not apply for the recognition right in the beginning of your studies. If you substitute the traineeship by using the course code for the funded traineeship course, you cannot later apply for the traineeship subsidy in order to do another traineeship during the same degree (e.g. during a bachelor’s). It is good to read the criteria for the subsidy before applying for a recognition of prior work experience.