Commerce is the largest employer in the business sector and a key industry of the economic life. Digitalisation strongly shapes the sector and its skills needs. However, skills needs surveys conducted in the commerce sector in recent years highlight the skills shortage in digital commerce, which can have wide-ranging implications for the well-being and vitality of businesses and regions of the sector.
The new curriculum is a targeted solution for tackling the skills shortage in digital commerce. The supporters of the project include Helsingin Kauppiaitten Yhdistys ry.
"The university-level study package on digital commerce plays an important role for companies in the sector that are increasingly struggling with skills shortages as digital commerce grows. It is important that commerce experts are able to contribute better in the future to the challenges of digitalisation, automation, artificial intelligence and platform economy," says Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
Versatile understanding of digital commerce
The entirely online study package on digital commerce is intended for university graduate students, and the courses can also be completed through an open university by those developing their skills. The study package includes six courses organised by universities concerning various areas of digital commerce, as well as a digital commerce internship in a commercial enterprise coordinated by the Finnish Commerce Federation for graduate students.
During the modules, students will be able to study digital commerce comprehensively, from procurement and logistics to customer behaviour, branding and digital marketing.
"The aim is that after completing the study package, the student understands digital commerce in a versatile and comprehensive way and is able to apply the key concepts and skills of digital commerce to their work," Kiviniemi says.
Studies will begin in September 2021 with an LUT University study module on the management of procurement activities and supplier relations. It is possible to complete the study package during one academic year, but individual courses can also be used to complement a person's competence palette.
Collaboration and competence create top results
In addition to the Finnish Commerce Federation, the organisers of the digital commerce study package include five Finnish universities; the University of Eastern Finland, LUT University, the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Oulu and the University of Tampere. Each university provides its own natural expertise, but tailored to the package.
"The best thing the study package offers students is the opportunity to clarify the overall picture of how the different areas of commerce operate in today's business environment. The study package covers the value chain of commerce, from procurement and the supplier market to the consumer market, thus offering unique expertise in the management of business in the commerce sector," explains Professor Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen from LUT University.
According to Saara Julkunen, Assistant Professor at the University of Eastern Finland,thenew digital commerce package perfectly connects university graduate students and professionals who have already gained experience in the working life, which inevitably also improves national and regional competitive strength.
"Companies have already wanted to discuss several interesting matters in connection to these studies, and we are delighted to have received an initial promise from many digital commerce experts to share their expertise during the lectures," Julkunen says.
According to Heikki Karjaluoto, Professor at the University of Jyväskylä, no such study package has been available in Finland before.
"This package we have built is also a great opportunity for us universities to develop our mutual cooperation in the future. In this way, we can better react to the wishes of the business world, see how the school of economics' already extensive supply of education can be built into study packages that serve the business world even better," Karjaluoto says.
"The cooperation model is unique because it combines the areas of expertise of different universities and the perspectives of commerce sector operators. As a result of the cooperation, the study package tailors students' expertise to the needs of the working life in a versatile way," says Assistant Professor Elina Närvänen from the University of Tampere.
Research Doctor Timo Pohjosenperä from the University of Oulu is eagerly awaiting the study module to create closer, mutually beneficial cooperation between universities and commerce sector operators.
"In this way, we can together strengthen the image of the economic and social importance of commerce and logistics in a changing world," Pohjosenperä says.
For more information on the study package on digital commerce and participation in study modules, visit digitaalinenkauppa.fi.
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)50 511 3189, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anni-Kaisa Kähkönen, Professor, LUT University, tel. +358 40 746 8132, email@example.com
Saara Julkunen, Assistant Professor, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 40 355 3365, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elina Närvänen, Assistant Professor, University of Tampere, tel. +358 50 318 6016, email@example.com
Timo Pohjosenperä, Senior Researcher, University of Oulu, tel. +358 50 342 8279, firstname.lastname@example.org
Heikki Karjaluoto, Professor, University of Jyväskylä, tel. +358 40 576 7814, email@example.com