My Oulu: Ukrainian Alisa, 18, found a job at Kotipizza: “You do not have to know all the tricks of the trade when you start working in this field”

Alisa Zhyhylova found a job from recruitment event organised by BusinessOulu. Next event will take place in September. Picture: Annakaisa Vääräniemi

My Oulu


Jaa sosiaalisessa mediassa:


Ukrainian Alisa Zhyhulova, 18, arrived in Finland with her mother and brother in March from Ukraine. She drafted her CV and did not give up her job hunt in Oulu. At the same time she started to study Finnish at Multicultural Centre Villa Victor.

Now, five months later, in August, Alisa is working as a trainee at a Kotipizza pizzeria in Oulu.

“I found a job when my mother and I visited the recruitment event organised by BusinessOulu in June”, she says.

Earlier Alisa Zhyhulova worked in customer service including a Ukrainian hotel and clothes shop. She studies Psychology at university in Kiev. She has been able to do some courses through distance learning in Oulu.

Her dream is to get into university in Oulu and to learn more about the Finnish restaurant industry.

“Daily tasks include at the moment for instance cleaning, washing up and cashier responsibilities. However, I am willing to learn everything here.”

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Kotipizza entrepreneur Jarkko Mannila believes that after her training Alisa can, if she likes, have her contract extended.

“Alisa adopts new things quickly. I am sure she manages all tasks here pretty soon. The goal is that she can make pizzas, too, by then. “You do not have to know all the tricks of the trade initially,” says Jarkko Mannila who was the one recruiting Alisa Zhyhulova.

“I have more than 20 years of entrepreneurship behind me and have noticed that if an employee has a genuine wish and interest in learning new skills as well as working, he or she can achieve anything.”

A new employee with wage subsidy

Jarkko Mannila says recruiting a Ukrainian employee was an easy process.

“In the end of June our area manager told us about a Ukrainian mother and daughter who were looking for work. The manager knew we were recruiting new staff. We arranged for a meeting and discussed ways of helping them and putting their skills to good use”, Jarkko Mannila says.

Alisa Zhyhulova started to work for Jarkko Mannila and his wife Jasmin’s company after the summer holidays. Before starting Alisa was required to take the hygiene pass test. Her mother was employed by another company in Oulu.

“We received a two-month wage subsidy for hiring Alisa. We already knew how to apply as well as what to do when hiring someone from another country.”

The wage subsidy, which is discretionary, is granted for employing an unemployed job seeker by a TE office. The employer is eligible for the wage subsidy programme if they pay a collectively agreed salary or wages to the employee.

After practising for a couple of weeks Alisa is now making pizzas.

Mentor for assistance

Alisa Zhyhulova speaks both Finnish and English at work. Her Finnish is improving every day as she speaks as much Finnish as possible with both the Kotipizza entrepreneurs and customers.

“Our greatest challenge lies in the language environment. The very first day Alisa was accompanied by an interpreter and from time to time there were three people at the checkout taking orders. Luckily our customers are understanding and respond well to the situation”, Jarkko Mannila continues.

Mentor Taras Paliichuk has been to Kotipizza twice now that Alisa Zhyhulova is working there. He has been assisting with e.g. work contract issues and helped in the work orientation process.

Taras Paliichuk, who works for BusinessOulu, does not only help Ukrainians with their job seeking but also together with Business Advisor Viera Karam they help employers once the work starts. Taras Paliichuk focuses in particular on the younger Ukrainians and has found summer jobs for many of them.

When a person seeks for temporary protection as defined by the EU they have the right to work in the EU countries.

“The best work opportunities are now found in industry, housekeeping, care and restaurant sectors. A language barrier is often a huge challenge but even that is not a true obstruction. The Ukrainians who have moved to Oulu want to work and they learn new things quickly”, Taras Paliichuk says.

Mentor Taras Paliichuk works for BusinessOulu and helps Ukrainians in job seeking.

A recruitment event was organised at BusinessAsema in June where Ukrainian job seekers and local companies had an opportunity to connect. Seven companies came on site with five recruitment agencies and the event was visited by approximately 60 job seekers.

The recruitment event was a huge success and will now be organised again. If you have a job available, come and give your recruiting pitch in a free event at BusinessAsema on 12 September from 12.00 to 16.00.

More information and applications at this link.


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