In my last column, I said I was helping two local companies prepare for a group of international workers. That group of lahihoitajat from Kosovo has now arrived, under the supervision of Sedu and the Kokka kohti Etelä-Pohjanmaata -hanke and there have recently been some positive stories about them in local newspapers.
International recruitment is, clearly, an important aspect of filling Finland’s labour shortage but we shouldn’t overlook the workers that may already be here. My friend, Nadia, is studying international business at SeAMK and is planning to write her thesis on a similar topic, how to ensure that local companies connect with the international workers that are already living here, before recruiting from overseas.
I have also been conducting a survey of metal manufacturing companies in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, to understand how local companies feel about immigrant workers and students graduating from Sedu. Overall, it seems that most of the companies are positive about foreign workers and believe there are potential employees already here. But, as one person said “I would be happy to have international workers, but where do we find them in Etelä-Pohjanmaa.”
There are several ways for companies and international workers, in Etelä-Pohjanmaa, to connect and various hankkeet at Sedu that aim to make this easier. Also, Welcome2EP is a guidance and counselling service whose customers are people who have moved to Finland from another country. MONI-Info offers similar services in Seinäjoki and has helped several people that I know, to find their own path to integrating into Finnish society.
Finally, the membership association I helped create, E-P WIISE ry (Work Integration for Immigrants Service) offers a ready-made network for people that move to Etelä-Pohjanmaa. We arrange regular networking meetings for our members to make new connections and new friends.
Our members are individuals (both Finns and foreigners), companies and organisations. Whether someone needs advice, guidance or a job, we are happy to make useful introductions.
If you know someone that has just moved to our region, WIISE would be happy to hear from them.