Vilma's story: Building better health and social services motivates me

Career story

I am Vilma and I work as an expert in health and social services consultation and deal with issues related to the effectiveness of child welfare.

Throughout my primary and secondary school years, I had two dream jobs: a class teacher and a physician. In upper secondary school, my timetable was filled with courses in long maths, physics, chemistry and biology. I took them because I wanted to build a path towards becoming a physician. After upper secondary school, I ended up applying not only to medical school but also to class teacher training, to which I was admitted right away.

In other words, my career path began with class teacher studies at the University of Jyväskylä. There I chose music education as my minor subject. Studying was fun, enjoyable and rewarding. And above all, the wonderful group of students I was studying with made the time memorable. After a year, however, I began to question whether the sector was right for me after all. The possibility of going to medical school still made me wonder. Could a career as a physician be more my own thing? I registered as taking a gap year from the university and applied to the Faculty of Medicine to study. However, the doors to the medical school did not open this time either, but I did not want to give up. So, I decided to try to reach my goal after another gap year.

During the second gap year, however, the dream of going to the medical school got to go, when I found a new field of study in social work. I soon realised that social work is the right sector for me, as it combines helping people, efforts to reduce social inequality, and promotion of human rights and social justice. I was admitted to study social work (Master of Social Sciences) at the University of Jyväskylä. I also decided to continue my class teacher's studies I had started there earlier.

I landed my current job at FCG Finnish Consulting Group Oy through my last traineeship during my social work studies. Before that, alongside my studies, I worked as a substitute social worker. I did service needs assessment of families with children and worked in emergency social services in child welfare during office hours, adoption counselling, and emergency social and crisis services. While working in services for families with children, I had a chance to pilot the ARVOA® method intended for assessing the effectiveness and quality of child welfare. It made an impression on me. The method is based on measuring the family's well-being, functional capacity and the concern felt for the child and monitoring changes in them.

I found out that the method is the property of FCG, so I applied for a traineeship there. I had an opportunity to work with the method already during my traineeship. After completing the traineeship, the company let me continue working as an expert in the team. Now, I have been a happy member of the team for almost two years.

Currently, I work as a product manager for the ARVOA® method. I also conduct health and social services consultations. My job description also includes training social welfare professionals to use the method. In this task, I have been able to use my pedagogical competence built through my class teacher studies. In my work, I am particularly motivated by finding solutions to the customer's problems and participating in building better and more effective health and social services via consultation.

I spend most of my free time taking part in regional and local politics in such bodies as Jyväskylä City Council and the Regional Council of Central Finland. The other things I enjoy in my daily life include music, ice swimming, skiing and long cycling trips.

My tip for those seeking their own path is a cliché, but it worked for me: Be brave, dare to deviate from your assumed path, dare to try.

Vilma Viitasaari