Finding your way may take time and effort, but the support is there

Lidiia Tregubova moved to Tampere from St. Petersburg at the age of 25 with her husband Andrei Tregubov, a Doctoral Researcher at Tampere University, and their little daughter Eseniia. Lidiia shares the main milestones of her integration path during the first three years after her arrival.

Facing a career crossroad when moving to Tampere

Lidiia is a cryogenic engineer by training. She moved to Tampere in 2020 without any work experience in her speciality. She graduated from the St. Petersburg University, got married, had a daughter, and soon after that, the family moved. In Tampere, Lidiia decided to start her career path from scratch.

After arrival in a new country, Lidiia immediately registered as an unemployed jobseeker. For better or worse, she was not provided with integration courses back then. Earlier in 2015, she studied in Finland for half a year as an exchange student. After that, she had three years to apply for integration courses, but when they moved to Finland permanently in 2020, this period had passed. “It was quite a challenging career situation, as I see it now.”, Lidiia says.

Focusing on the positive from the very beginning

She found stories of migrants on the International Tampere website and read about their paths here in Tampere and Finland. “I focused on their experiences and recommendations intellectually, picking the most relevant ones. For the first time in my life, I understood I could test many opportunities and then decide for myself.”, Lidiia describes.

Although that time was challenging for Lidiia, she tried to recognise the good things around her and focus on them. That helped her a lot in this ambiguous period. She found herself interested in many things, and was surprised at the high level of support for the young businesses in Tampere. Starting a business seemed, at that time, the most appropriate thing to do. But she had no idea what business it could be.

Entrepreneurship as an entry point of contact with the public services

Lidiia’s interaction with the public services began with a thought of ​​putting herself into an entrepreneurship environment. First, through Business Tampere and their 4-month programme “A call for junior mentors”, she found a fresh English-speaking IT startup whose values ​​and mission interested her.

“They were looking for a person who could participate in marketing and development tasks, and all this could be learned while working. At the same, Business Tampere offered me an internship in the startup accelerator “Red Brick”, and I took this opportunity. At this point, the TE Services approved my integration plan.”, Lidiia explains.

And so the situation evolves

“My story was not an immediate success.”, Lidiia says. After four months of work in the IT startup, the founder decided to close down for personal reasons. Lidiia’s internship at the Red Brick came to an end around the same time. She was no longer employed and therefore began to think about what she could do next.

“During this time, I started to feel that I needed to learn Finnish. I realised it would help me a lot in my integration. Also, I already learnt to be active, ask around and try new things, and not give up on failures. I found a 5-month course, “Finnish language and culture”, by the local vocational college Tredu. Studying there was such a valuable and exciting time for me! I fell in love with the Finnish culture and language during that period. Thanks a lot to my teacher Anne Rantakari in Tredu!”

Finding a new direction and getting an unexpected support

After the course, Lidiia was more or less able to speak Finnish. But she felt no one would hire her with a B1 level Finnish. In Finland, after completing any college or university programme, you can have a work try-out (työkokeilu). “And I took advantage of it. For three months, I had an internship at the Children’s Cultural Centre Rulla, where I found myself. I have the warmest memories of this place. Everyone was very friendly and helped me to improve my Finnish language.”

The internship at the Children’s Cultural Centre Rulla was her first full-time work experience in Finnish. After that, Lidiia started to apply for jobs where she could continue working with children. But there were no responses.

At this time, she became a customer of the International Tampere Skills Centre (OSKE). “They offered me a career couching (Uravalmennus), which turned out to be very useful for me and probably the best service I have received from the City of Tampere. I learned a lot about working life and education in Finland. And most importantly, I learnt to dream big, understand myself and believe in myself! Thanks a lot to my teachers: Irina Viital, Tiina Miikkulainen and Hanna Koskinen.”

Looking to the future with confident

After the OSKE’s career coaching, Lidiia got a job in a daycare centre with a work contract for at least until May 2023. “I am so happy with how it turned out! Furthermore, now I know I can continue my career path anytime, from any point, and in any direction. Trying many things and receiving different kinds of support on the way taught me that career development is an exciting journey rather than an obligation to fit in and adjust to. I grew personally! I do not fully know my future plans yet, but I look into the future with optimism and self-confidence! Thank you Tampere for that!”

Reinventing yourself in Tampere

“The City of Tampere greatly assists internationals in finding their growth points. It can take time and effort, but the support is always there! Spot the opportunities, build your networks, and try your first steps in different roles. You will realise that everything is possible and nothing is ever too late!”, Lidiia highlights to fellow internationals.

Written by Lidiia Tregubova, Natalia Gromova and Tiia Heikkilä