Towards employment

Viittakivi actively researches and develops new and flexible ways to reach employment. We start from the person’s own capabilities and recognising their wishes and objectives. People’s potential can be utilised more quickly with different intensive training courses which further their vocational skills. For example, in Viittakivi’s own multicultural and diverse working environment, we have know-how from many different areas. In our experience, a diverse group of knowledgeable people can bring value to the employer; we just need to recognise the knowledge and utilise it without fear. We co-operate, for example, with the Perho culinary, tourism and business college in intensive vocational education.

Integration focusing on working life starts as early as at the reception centre.

We have developed a model of learning while working at the Viittakivi Savonlinna reception centre alongside the asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers’ learning while working model means a guided process where asylum seekers whose application is still under consideration have the opportunity to familiarise themselves – in an actual working environment – with a trade they are interested in. The model is based on a learning while working agreement, which sets learning objectives and ensures that the asylum seeker receives the necessary guidance at work. The company offering the position will give feedback about the person’s skills and suitability for the industry during and after the working period.

The objectives of the learning while working model is to offer the asylum seeker an opportunity to learn new skills through practical work and simultaneously utilise skills learnt in their home country. The benefits of the model are multidirectional. The asylum seekers can undertake meaningful activities during the heavy and stressful period of asylum application processing, they accumulate work experience which supports their previous skills, they familiarise themselves with Finnish working life and culture in practice and they network locally. At the same time, the employers get motivated learner-workers and workers, they get to know asylum seekers as individuals and possible new workers, and depending on the industry, may expand their clientele.

In 2016, just under 20 asylum seekers took part in this programme. The programme was co-ordinated by the Paths to the Community project and the Savonlinna reception centre.