Traineeship is also language practice

The best way to obtain skills in professional language use is in workplace communication situations. It is important for students in English-language degree programmes to complete traineeships in a Finnish-language environment if they want to gain good skills of the language of their field in Finnish and find employment in Finland. Students studying in Finnish-language degrees also need language support for traineeships if the student is still learning Finnish. Language-aware traineeship practices support all students regardless of their level of proficiency.
People gathered around a table and discussing.
Photo: Kalle Kataila. All rights reserved.

Why language-aware traineeship?

  • The best way to learn the vocational language of one's own field is at work, not just in a Finnish language course. The subject teachers and traineeship instructors recognise the most common (and most difficult) words and concepts, professional jargon, typical expressions and established ways of speaking in their field.
  • It is important to gain good skills of the professional language of the field in Finnish if the student intends to find employment in Finland.
  • Language learning does not happen on its own but requires the support of a traineeship instructor and a language teacher. In order to acquire professional language skills, it is important to learn professional language use already at the early stages of language learning, starting with the first traineeship and language internship, not just at the B1 language proficiency level.
  • Language-supported work practice creates equality. Students studying in English-language degrees must be offered the opportunity to learn Finnish vocabulary of their field so that they can find employment in Finland and progress in their careers.
  • Language-supported traineeships also help Finnish-speaking students to learn professional language. In addition, language-supported traineeships provide Finnish-speaking people with excellent tools for developing language-aware guidance skills. The ability to guide in a language-aware manner is an important communication skill for professionals. 

Language-aware traineeship is carried out cooperatively

Language-aware traineeship is carried out cooperatively. It is important that the subject teachers, traineeship instructors and S2 teachers jointly plan the guidelines for language training so that they best support the student, educational institution and traineeship place. 

In language-aware traineeships, the language teacher teaches the basics of the language, but the teacher of the vocational subject and the traineeship instructor are teachers of the vocational language of the field. It is a good idea for students to learn the vocabulary and established language use of their own field from the beginning of language learning. 

In language-aware traineeships or language internships, content objectives as well as language proficiency objectives according to the student's initial level are recorded separately. Students at the A1-A2 language level complete the internships in pairs as far as possible so that the student receives timely support in communication situations and is not excluded. Speakers with excellent language skills and native speakers (C1-C2) are also given language objectives in language-aware traineeships. The language objectives of students with excellent language skills are related to the ability of these students to support language learners independently in communication situations at the workplace and to adapt their speech to the needs of the language learner. 

A language agreement is made in language-supported traineeships 

The student also draws up a language agreement with their instructors and teachers, which defines the student's own language objectives for the placement. The objectives are based on the student's language proficiency and the communication situations that arise at the workplace. When the objectives are drawn up according to the student's starting level, they do not discourage the student but support the learning of professional language skills. The objectives also indicate to the practical training instructor and colleagues what kind of language proficiency they can expect from the student and in what they need support with. 

The language agreement is a useful tool for students who are just developing their language skills and who are often nervous about working in Finnish. In other words, a language agreement refers to a discussion that takes place at the beginning of a traineeship and agrees on the linguistic objectives of the traineeship. The aim is that the student and the instructor together reflect on situations in which language can be learned. The student prepares personal language learning goals for the traineeship place in question. The aim is to learn the language in different interactive situations at the workplace. Watch the Tokasa project's video on language agreements. 

On this page, you can find support for how to discuss language objectives with the student and how to conclude a language agreement. 

Material to support the conclusion of a language agreement

Pocketbook is a useful tool for language learning at work

The pocketbook method supports language learning at work

The pocketbook is a concrete tool that activates the language learner and the colleagues as well.

Hands are holding a pen and there's a notebook on the table.

See also

How to guide students in a language-aware manner

Language-aware guidance require cooperation between the subject teacher, the language teacher and the traineeship instructor.

A student and a teacher are talking to each other at the table. There's a laptop on the table.

What are professional language skills

Professional language is not learned on its own at work, but language learning requires input from the workplace and the work community.


What kind of language skills are needed at the traineeship

Different workplaces require different language skills. It is important for work places to consider the language proficiency required in the work tasks in advance.


Language exercises during the traineeship

Language exercises during the traineeship support the learning of professional language.

Hands are holding a pen and there's a notebook on the table.
Internship advisors

©2023 Eveliina Korpela, Eevamaija Iso-Heiniemi, Hanna Aho, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Traineeship and language practice material, produced by Eveliina Korpela, Eevamaija Iso-Heiniemi and Hanna Aho, is licensed under a CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The material can be found at Photos: All rights reserved. 

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