My Oulu: Tara believes in the power of community to attract talents in Oulu

The Idea Competition was held in late April at BusinessAsema by UNIC CityLabs and BusinessOulu. Photo: Tero Suutari

My Oulu


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Tara Goodwin was the 1st runner-up of Idea Competition with her solution ”OULUxL – Oulu Experiential Learning”. Born in Canada, she has a bachelor´s in Mechatronic Systems in Engineering and is pursuing a master´s in Language, Education and Technology at the University of Oulu. Due to the pandemic, she studied remotely during the first two semesters of the masters, and she has been here in Oulu for eight months now.

In the competition, participants from various countries presented their solutions to foster students´ working life connections. Goodwin was excited to be in an in-person event after so long.

“I have seen many people connecting and sharing today, building a sense of community. It is a positive experience to see it and be part of it again.”

She points out that being able to participate in events like this is a great opportunity to learn on your feet.

“You go with the flow and connect with your audience. You know what you´re doing and it´ll be all good. One thing while in Finland I learned it takes a community to make education impactful.”

Future education engineer

Tara Goodwin pitched her idea ”OULUxL – Oulu Experiential Learning” which was designed to strengthen students´ working life by developing project-based courses inside the university in partnership with companies and organizations. By proposing problem-solving cases to students, they would develop solutions and present them to the companies as the final deliverable. Companies would also have an active role by providing mentorship throughout the development of the idea.

The Canadian master´s student wants to promote a close relationship between the work community and University of Oulu´s classrooms.

“Companies need more involvement in a student’s education; they just need an opportunity to do so.”

Goodwin shares the job that she wanted is to be an education engineer which is something that doesn´t exist yet. Drawing from her own experiences, she intends to bridge the gap between talents and companies.

Students as problem-solving consultants

OULUxL would offer students the opportunity to work as problem-solving consultants for real companies in Oulu during their education, fostering not only working life networks, but also making room for them to connect the relevance of their education to life beyond graduation.

It´s a win-win game, as companies gain more visibility and students are able to realize the employment possibilities Oulu has to offer.

For reaching the final stage, Goodwin was awarded a mentorship from key professionals of Oulu region, she will present her solution at UNIC CityLabs Festival and get a professional picture from Business Oulu. She will also benefit from mentoring sessions on how to refine her solution OULUxL.

A board of mentors was carefully selected to share insightful advice with her:
Jari Karjalainen, Development Director, Osuuskauppa Arina
Juha Ala-Mursula, Director, BusinessOulu
Mikko Ahokas, CEO, Macon Oy
Jenna Antinmaa, Sales & Marketing Manager, ChocoSomnia Oy
Anu-Maarit Moilanen, CEO, Oulu City Theatre
Laura Piila, Vice President, Optomed Oyj