Ten rules for immigrants

Plate welder Vadim Viazov

Learn the language. Concentrate on getting the first job. Read job ads - browse the net. Listen to friend’s advice. Call companies. Go along there yourself. Tell them what you can do and show your skills. Act on your own initiative. Be daring. If you’re not lucky, don’t give up.

Vadim Viazov’s advice is based on experience. He is 30, and believes that an immigrant’s first few years in a new country are always difficult, but hard work pays off.

Viazov went to maritime college in Murmansk, Russia. He installed and serviced engines in cargo vessels at the dock.

When Ingrians were granted the right to return to Finland, his family started to think about emigrating. His wife’s relatives were Ingrian Finns. The decision came slowly, but in autumn 1997 the family packed their bags.

After moving to Turku, Viazov immediately applied to take an integration course for immigrants run by the employment office.

”Lounging on the sofa was not in my nature. I wanted to start work as quickly as possible, but first I had to train. My biggest problem was learning the language. It also proved difficult getting work experience.”

When the course finished Viazov got a trainee place, but felt uncomfortable about working on a construction site. Technically gifted, he took a welding course and landed a job in a shipbuilding firm in Turku. A year later, however, Viazov gave in his notice.

“The pay could be better, but who wouldn’t say that?”

”I liked the work and I made a good impression, but the atmosphere at work was bad. I don’t know why - but many other employees there felt inadequate. I left and decided to do more training.”

On a four-month course for plate welders Viazov learnt new welding procedures. When it ended he noticed that Konepaja Laaksonen was looking for people for ship and machine construction at their Oriketo plant. Viazov set off to make enquiries.

”I told the manager I was a qualified welder and a reliable worker. I was able to start work the same day. Since 2002 I have been working for the firm as a permanent employee.”

Konepaja Laaksonen manufactures made-to-order products. Viazov thinks the job is challenging because the company requires professional skills and good results of its employees. There is no grumbling there either.

”The management treat the foreigners fine. Seven of the men are Russian, but relations with the rest of the workers are fine. The future looks bright. A professionally skilled plate welder will always find work.”

At home Viazov mostly speaks Russian, though the family’s seven-year old boy speaks fluent Finnish. Although there are a lot of Viazov’s fellow countrymen living in Turku, there are also Finns in the family’s circle of acquaintances.

”I make no bones about saying that we came to Finland to stay. Finland is a peaceful country. Things work. Here there is order.”

Text and photograph: Jukka Huusko, Jukka Vuolle and Jukka Uotila
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy

Send To Friend | Last Updated 06/11/2009 | To page top