A customer is chatting with an employee at the Immigration Service's Helsinki service point. LEHTIKUVA

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Finland's Refugee Assistance and Home Care Service Mehiläinen have embarked on a pioneering partnership aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for immigrants, thereby facilitating their integration into Finnish society. This collaborative effort kicks off with a pilot project designed to match immigrants with personal assistant roles within Mehiläinen, utilizing the Refugee Assistance's Sauma employment coaching program as a recruitment platform.

Throughout the spring of 2024, Mehiläinen plans to hire individuals from the Sauma program, which supports immigrants in their job search. This initiative not only seeks to create pathways into the workforce for immigrants but also aims to promote their social integration and foster interactions between diverse demographic groups.

Initially, Mehiläinen will offer ten temporary positions for the summer season, with prospects for permanent employment thereafter. Personal assistants play a crucial role in supporting disabled individuals in various aspects of daily life, including work, study, hobbies, and civic engagement. This pilot phase is intended to lay the groundwork for expanding the program and recruiting more individuals in the future.

As Finland faces a growing need for new workers, especially with an aging population, and immigrants often encounter significant barriers to employment, this collaboration offers a promising avenue into the healthcare and social service sectors. Reetta-Maija Koskinen, Recruitment Manager at Home Care Service Mehiläinen, expresses the organization's commitment to facilitating the integration of immigrants into Finnish society through employment. She highlights the value of multiculturalism in enriching workplace environments and underscores the importance of actions to combat discrimination in the workforce.

Joonas Rentola, Head of the Work and Livelihood Unit at Finland's Refugee Assistance, notes the critical role of personal support in aiding immigrants' entry into the labor market. The partnership with Mehiläinen not only enhances employment prospects for individuals but also contributes to meaningful social interactions and cultural exchange. Rentola calls on employers across various sectors to explore ways to engage more actively in promoting workforce diversity, emphasizing the untapped potential among immigrants eager to contribute to Finnish society.

This initiative reflects a broader effort to leverage employment as a key tool for social integration and community cohesion, encouraging a more inclusive approach to workforce development in Finland.

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