Remote meetings became an established part of Helsinki rehabilitative work activities

Artikkelikuva: Remote meetings became an established part of Helsinki rehabilitative work activities

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges in regard to how work activities are organised, but also highlighted the potential of remote work activities. The resulting new operating model also gave rise to the need to provide customers and employees with a new kind of learning path for digital skills.

The City of Helsinki was quick to react to the need brought on by the pandemic to organise rehabilitative work activities remotely. After all, the City’s responsibility for organising rehabilitative work activities continued despite the pandemic. The quick reaction launched a process, as a result of which customers of rehabilitative work activities are able to learn skills related to employment and complete competence points online.

“When work activity sites had to be closed in spring 2020 because of the pandemic, the appointments between rehabilitative work activity coaches and customers who had been unemployed for an extended time first took place by phone. Early on, some customers probably felt that the Teams meetings brought on by the pandemic were a positive change to social interaction,” says rehabilitative work activity coach Titta Niemonen from the City of Helsinki. 

Niemonen and her colleagues started to develop the activities on a tight schedule to be able to organise the weekly appointments while socially distancing. The customers received an introduction by phone and participated in the remote coaching via Teams, among other digital tools. However, the City still needed a clearer and more secure solution and devices for the customers to continue the activities remotely.

Engaging co-creation remotely

The Developing Digital Skills as Part of Work Activities project, developed in 2022–2023 by the City of Helsinki innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki and the City of Helsinki social and healthcare services, aimed to strengthen the digital skills of the customers and staff of rehabilitative work activities in Helsinki and pilot a digital learning environment. As a final result, the project developed a secure and user-friendly digital learning platform and contents for it. 

“We have developed the Virtual Workshop of Helsinki Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services by really involving the customers. Co-creation is at its best between the rehabilitative work activity experts and the customers who have been unemployed for an extended time. On the Virtual Workshop platform, we pilot things such as the recognition of prior competencies, AI tools and digital inclusion together,” says Project Manager Meri Vainio from Forum Virium Helsinki. 

Support for jobseeking, especially for those unemployed for an extended time 

The development of digital services continues in close cooperation with experts and customers in the From Work Activities to Employment project, which develops digital solutions and introduces content to support jobseeking. It is possible for people who have been unemployed for an extended time to have their prior competencies recognised in the learning environment and even complete common units for their studies, such as the employment competence module.  

The employment competence module included in the common units of initial vocational qualifications is intended for the customers of rehabilitative work activities. The module is being piloted in May. The customers participated in the development from the start by defining their goals and requirements for the digital platform. 

“The current digital operations make up a functional service based on research and evidence. We can see how the interaction on the platform and the genuine co-creation of the activities has got the users actively involved. There is trust between the experts and the customers,” Niemonen says, delighted. Participating in piloting the services helps customers commit to the activities, and the power of the group drives their learning forward. 

“Revising topics related to employment contracts and occupational safety is very helpful and will surely serve my goal of returning to work. Overall, writing and sending the CV, application and job description improved and recalled my computer skills, such as text processing and scanning,” says a customer of work activities

Photo: Silja Minkkinen, Helsinki Partners

Additional information

Project Manager Meri Vainio

Meri Vainio
Project Manager
+358 40 683 0660

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