This spring,  the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) hosted the 2024 Emerging Leadership and Career Booster for Finnish and Swedish JPOs — a new edition of the well-established JPO Career Booster programme, bringing together Junior Professional Officers (JPO) from Sweden and, for the first time, Finland. A group of 45 participants gathered to learn from each other and engage with our experts while facing a crucial point in their JPO assignments: the moment when they need to deliberate on next career steps and actively search for new job opportunities within the UN system.

To support them in their career transition, UNSSC created a tailored learning experience featuring senior UN leaders  such as Joyce Msuya, Lena Savelli and Mia Seppo, HR experts Michael Emery and Alison Osborne, career coaches Fabiana Green and Monique Valcour, staff counselor Regan Shercliffe, as well as other current and former UN staff, to equip these JPOs with knowledge and skills essential for pursuing a career within the system and beyond.

The programme involved two weeks of online learning and one residential week at UNSSC headquarters in Turin, Italy. Here, you can find an overview of what was covered during the residential week of this special edition.

Day 1
“A UN career is a wonderful, meaningful journey, but not always easy.”

Every career is a unique journey, shaped by our individual strengths and aspirations, and, realistically, full of ups and downs. The wisdom of those who have navigated similar uncertainties or triumphed over comparable obstacles is invaluable.

That’s why, on their first residential day, JPOs had the opportunity to delve into the essential skills for UN 2.0, receive crucial advice from senior leaders, and envision their future careers – with the aid of the LEGO Serious Play methodology. They say the comeback is greater than the setback, and indeed, as Mia Seppo reminds us: “It's all about how you get up from a setback”.

Day 2
Day 2
"Don’t be afraid of your emotions; they are there to guide you through the world."

Regan Shercliffe, the Global Lead for the UN Mental Health Strategy, opened his intervention with these inspiring words. Reflecting on the challenges faced by UN staff, he highlighted how deep investment in one’s work – its meaning, its cause, and the realities of the people involved – can often make it difficult for UN personnel to prioritize their own well-being.

After this enlightening discussion, participants were joined by Monique Valcour, who provided practical strategies to enhance resilience, navigate difficult conversations, maintain high motivation, and improve time management skills.

Thanks to expert insights like these, our Finnish and Swedish JPOs were able to cultivate the self-awareness needed to thrive not just as individuals, but as professional and empathetic and emotionally intelligent leaders.

Day 3
Day 3
“What do I want and how do I get there?”

This challenging question, often leading to profound reflections, set the stage for the third day. Career coach Fabiana Green guided participants through an introspective activity centered around the attributes that constitute a personally satisfying career. She then led them to discover how cultivating their strengths at this stage of their career will help them navigate the paradoxes they will encounter as they advance further.

Day 4
Day 4
“What is it that the world needs from me?”

The second-to-last day was a blend of self-discovery and hands-on experience. Alison Osborne trained JPOs to convey their unique strengths and values when applying for a job, through a competency-based interview practice with UNSSC’s human resources team. A valuable opportunity to build confidence for future interviews as they intensify their job search.

Day 5
Day 5
“Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

For its conclusion, this edition of the JPO Career Booster programme featured a masterclass in career advancement within the UN system, led by Micheal Emery, Director of Human Resources at the International Organization for Migration. After providing an overview of the current trends and career opportunities available in the UN system, he gave participants valuable tips and insights that JPOs looking to pursue their careers could immediately put into action, starting from the very last day of the programme.

UNSSC is proud to have hosted this 2024 cohort of JPOs in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Learn more about the 2024 Emerging Leadership and Career Booster for Finnish and Swedish JPOs and our open-enrollment Career Booster for JPOs by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on social media.