In Finland, TET is a scheme that lets eighth and ninth graders (14–16 years old) to go into workplaces to learn about working life. The idea is for TET trainees to see what it is like to be an employee at a workplace, and what it is like to be part of a work community. Kulttuuri-TET (Cultural Work Experience) trainees get to carry out their own projects independently or in a group, and to do a wider range of work than in ordinary TET.
Salla Siira, a ninth grader from Kirkkonummi, talks about discovering Kulttuuri-TET: “I found Kulttuuri-TET by chance. I was trying to look at unusual work-experience places online and came across Kulttuuri-TET. Finally, I ended up on the IHME Festival’s website and phoned them about a TET placement.”
“Kulttuuri-TET normally involves working in a group, but since I come from so far away, I couldn’t get a companion to join me, which wasn’t a problem for me,” Siira says. “Local shops attract TET trainees more than far-off Helsinki.”
Not a dull moment
Siira did not have a dull moment in the whole week: “During the week, I was given very varied tasks, such as taking part in meetings, attending a #Helsingintekijät network meeting, making a questionnaire, meeting artists, and writing social-media texts. There was a lot to do, but not too much.”
“We were with Emeritus Professor of Entomology Jyrki Muona at the LUOMUS, Finnish Museum of Natural History, filming 30-second video clips about Hylochares cruentatus beetles for IHME’s Instagram. The insect takes the main role in this year’s IHME Project. The filming was made more difficult by the background noise at LUOMUS. Fortunately Professor Muona was able to point us to a quiet spot. The filming went well, and we didn’t need to redo any of the takes,” Siira explains one of the tasks she did during TET.
“The best thing about Kulttuuri-TET was that I was needed, and I wasn’t just a nuisance. That was also important to me when I was applying for a TET place,” Siira says of her experience. “The people working at IHME are nice, too, and were easy to work with.”
Kulttuuri-TET has also been valuable from the workplace’s angle: “Salla has been a great help to IHME. For instance, she looked at our website pages and made some good suggestions for improving their usability, and produced content for the website and social media. Along with that, we got some useful information from her about what things people of her age might be interested in and how we might invite them to IHME’s events,” says IHME’s Cultural Producer Päivi Matala.
Written by: Salla Siira, Veikkola School