Another school day is over. Olga, 25 is little bit worn out, but the day has been interesting. There were lessons on food safety. Also, a representative from one of the biggest food industry companies in Finland Fazer has been over to tell about safety at work. Olga Maximova is studying in a training program organized jointly by Diaconia College of Finland and Fazer. The program is part of Fazer’s celebrations for its 125th anniversary. Also jointly celebrated: Finland’s centennial.
The training program that Olga is joining is already second of its kind. First students started in August last year. Olga started with the second round of students at the end of the year. The interest toward the training programs has been huge: altogether there has been over 600 applications.
“A Russian friend of mine told me about this training program. She applied as well, but unfortunately did not get through. I was so happy to be chosen, as there were so many applicants”, Olga describes. In Olga’s group there are 22 students.
Food industry company Fazer aims to train altogether 125 people, who have faced difficulties finding work. Some might be long-term unemployed, some may have faced other difficulties in the work market – for example because of immigration background. Fazer offers all the trainees on-the-job learning.
Hopes for permanent work
Despite her young age, Olga has already work experience. She has studied horticulture and gardening and worked in a flower shop. She arrived in Finland alone when only 17 years old, from Russian Karelia. Unfortunately she has also bad experiences from the labor market in Finland.
“The maintenance company where I was working went under and I didn’t receive my salary. After that I was working in catering at the airport through temp work agency. I was working there regularly, but then they reduced staff”, Olga tells.
As a mother of a toddler, Olga has big responsibility. What she is looking for from the training program is a chance for permanent work.
“I really want to have permanent position, somewhere to work longer. I would not like to run around looking for work anymore”, Olga emphasizes. “As a mother of a small child, it is challenging to organize things with the daycare if schedules keep changing. Also it is hard to live in uncertainty. A friend of mine has worked with Fazer and I have heard good things about the company”, Olga adds.
Olga and her teacher Mari Kahila.
Fazer received positive feedback
On-the-job learning that Fazer offers the trainees can be in catering, food processing or for example packing, customer service or logistics. The training is designed to fit the work. As skills and experience develop, the assignments can change. At normal rate, Fazer recruits about thousand people every year, but they are in need of skillful employees all the time.
First students have already worked at Fazer. The feedback has been positive, tells HR Senior Vice President Mika Videman from Fazer.
“As the first groups have now been at work the feedback from both them and the managers has been positive. I have heard they are excellent people. We still have some way to go, but the start has been good. It would not work, unless our own staff was not so committed. I have gotten the message from our employees that they are proud Fazer is doing this”, Mika Videman describes.
The training program lasts from three to six months. The whole program is estimated to run for about two years. Fazer’s Mika Videman looks forward to other companies also establishing their own projects, to find more employment in Finland, for example for the youth.
Editor and photos: Anna Gustafsson