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Security Management student: Work placements and practical approach are best parts of the studies

Vaclav Stekl, Safety, Security and Risk Management student praises practical-oriented learning by developing methods. “The teachers are our mentors. They give us guidance and a lot of independence”.

It is not easy to move all by yourself to another country for studying. Vaclav Stekl, a second-year Safety, Security and Risk Management student at Laurea got an opportunity to move to Finland from the Czech Republic together with his parents. “They got a job in Helsinki and I decided to go with them”, he says.

Back in Prague Vaclav studied security management. It was his second choice because he dreamed to become a lawyer. After he did not get a place in a Law School, he searched for a related field of studies. “I found security management highly interesting and luckily I got a place at University of Regional Development in Prague”, he says. Vaclav studied there for one year and after that, he moved to Finland.

He wished to continue his study path and Laurea UAS was the only university in Finland offering a similar degree. Although the names of the studies in Prague and Espoo were the same, they differed in almost all the aspects.

“The biggest difference I have noticed is that the security management studies in the Czech Republic were more oriented on the public sector, for example, work of the police forces. We even had subjects such as criminalistics and criminology, tutoring about ammunitions and forensic science. While at Laurea, studies are mostly oriented on private sector companies. We learn about occupational health and safety, safety in buildings, fire safety. We also study cybersecurity”.

A modern and practical way of teaching at Laurea

In addition, teaching methods at Laurea are very different from what Vaclav knows from his home country. He appreciates the Finnish approach for its practicality, modern competency-based learning, and learning by developing.

“In the Czech Republic it is still this obsolete system of classroom teaching, where the teacher is just presenting  something to the class, students are taking notes, then they learn by heart from the notes to the exam and forget everything the day after”, he says with a grin adding, that he likes Laurea for not teaching this way.

Another new and surprising thing for Vaclav was the teacher-student interaction. “My experience from Laurea is that the lecturer is not really a teacher, but more of a mentor, who gives you the basic information you need and guidance if you need some, but then he lets you out in the world, you are free to develop yourself. We get a lot of independence”, he says.

He admits though that sometimes this is problematic for him. Although lecturers are available for the students and eager to help, he is often afraid to ask for advice. “I grew up in a different system. In the Czech Republic, teachers do not like to be bothered. So now it is hard for me to change my mindset”. 

Training safety and security at Skoda

During the studies, students are obligated to take two work placements. While looking for a job Vaclav learnt the importance of networking.

“It is not easy to build a network, especially if you are a foreigner and don’t know anyone. Laurea is trying to help us, but still, you have to be very active and patient. It takes a lot of time and effort”, he admits.

Vaclav is currently working for Skoda Transtech Company as a logistics trainee. In his opinion, the work placements are one of the best parts of the studies.

“We gain work experience, we can use our theoretical knowledge in practice. In my work, I am helping my supervisor, who is responsible for the 5S methodology, which means she is responsible for occupational safety and security in our workplace. The work is related to my studies and I am learning a lot”, adds Vaclav.

Vaclav’s plans? It is too early to say. “Living in Finland is good and easy. I would like to stay longer here and continue my studies at a master’s level or find a job. But first, I have to finish my bachelor”.