Joseph Laku lan­ded his first job in Oulu through the gra­pe­vi­ne – “My boss had to draw his instruc­tions for me, because we had no com­mon lan­gua­ge“

Man smiling at the factory

Joseph Laku from South Sudan has been hap­py wor­king for the same emplo­yer for 15 years.

Joseph Laku can still remem­ber what it was like to arri­ve in Oulu in the midd­le of the win­ter. For someo­ne from South Sudan, the cold and the snow were amazing ele­ments – almost shoc­king ones, actual­ly. But he has grown accus­to­med to the local cli­ma­te by now.

He has even tried cross-count­ry skiing a few times.

Joseph came to Fin­land with his fami­ly in 2004 and moved straight to Oulu. He came here as a refu­gee because of a conflict in South Sudan, after spen­ding some time in Egypt first.

– Some friends of mine told me Fin­land was a good and safe count­ry to live in.

During his first years in Oulu, Joseph stu­died sub­jects like the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge whi­le loo­king for work. He also did a degree in Busi­ness Infor­ma­tion Tech­no­lo­gy.

Through an acquain­tance of his wife’s, Joseph heard of an ope­ning at Ran­tek, an equip­ment manu­fac­tu­rer in the field of elect­rical engi­nee­ring, and ended up wor­king the­re. Joseph is now 47 years old and Ran­tek was his very first emplo­yer in Fin­land.

This year, Joseph is celebra­ting his 15th anni­ver­sa­ry wor­king for the Oulu-based com­pa­ny. What is more, he now has a dual citizens­hip, as he acqui­red the Fin­nish citizens­hip in 2018.

– In 2007, I did not know much of the Fin­nish lan­gua­ge. My supe­rior had dif­ficul­ties explai­ning my tasks to me and had to draw them at first, because we had no com­mon lan­gua­ge. My work­ma­tes hel­ped me out a lot and some­ti­mes I also spo­ke with them in English.

Fin­ding emplo­y­ment plays an impor­tant role when a per­son is inte­gra­ting to a new place.

Nowa­days, Joseph com­mu­nica­tes in Fin­nish at work and says that he is still stu­dying the lan­gua­ge inde­pen­dent­ly.

He says that he has adjus­ted to his work com­mu­ni­ty well. He has no special career plans and hopes to be able to work at Ran­tek for a long time to come.

Joseph works as a coi­ler which means that he manu­fac­tu­res things such as parts for elect­ric motors accor­ding to cus­to­mer needs.

Joseph does some of the work inde­pen­dent­ly and the rest with a part­ner. He thinks that the wor­king cul­tu­re at Ran­tek is a relaxed one, which means flexible wor­king hours, decent holi­day periods, and free wee­kends.

– I enjoy the work and my col­lea­gues are nice. We have adequa­te breaks, and the boss is not breat­hing down our necks.

Two men smiling

”Cons­tant shor­ta­ge of emplo­yees”

Ran­tek ope­ra­tes in the Rus­ko district of Oulu, with an emplo­yee base of around 45 people. Coi­ling is one of the fun­da­men­tal ope­ra­tions of the com­pa­ny, entai­ling high­ly skil­led han­diwork uti­li­sing rela­ted mac­hi­ne­ry at the same time. Besi­des coi­ling, the core exper­ti­se of the com­pa­ny inclu­des mac­hi­ning as well as assembly and tes­ting of end pro­ducts.

CEO Juha-Mat­ti Ran­ta­pää says that the com­pa­ny cur­rent­ly emplo­ys about ten coi­ling specia­lists.

Ran­tek was establis­hed by Juha-Matti’s fat­her, and Juha-Mat­ti has been wor­king the­re for 20 years, the last ten of which as an ent­repre­neur.

At one point, the com­pa­ny had a unit also in Kos­to­muks­ha, Rus­sia.

When the ope­ra­tions in Kos­to­muks­ha were ter­mi­na­ted, Ran­tek hired seve­ral Rus­sian emplo­yees to Oulu. Two of them still work for the com­pa­ny.

– We par­tici­pa­ted in the immi­gra­tion process and acqui­red the work per­mits for our Rus­sian emplo­yees, for example. But, in tho­se days, we did not have the time to think how and whe­re to get sup­port for hiring inter­na­tio­nal talent.

Now, Ran­tek emplo­ys seve­ral dif­fe­rent natio­na­li­ties. Last autumn they hired a Polish talent who was alrea­dy living in Fin­land.

– The­re is a cons­tant shor­ta­ge of emplo­yees in our field, and sui­table talent can­not always be found in Fin­land. Many people have found our vacant posts through the gra­pe­vi­ne and adap­ted well, Juha-Mat­ti says.

– Even though we are hiring inter­na­tio­nal talent, I have not chan­ged my sty­le of lea­ders­hip. We work fair­ly and cohe­rent­ly with eve­ry­one – no mat­ter what their background is.

Is your com­pa­ny in need of inter­na­tio­nal talent?

Are you plan­ning to go inter­na­tio­nal, and your com­pa­ny is facing chal­len­ges fin­ding the right pro­fes­sio­nals? Oulu Talent Hub can help you!

The goal of Oulu Talent Hub is to match inter­na­tio­nal talent with local com­pa­nies suf­fe­ring from labour shor­ta­ge. The­re are a lot of inter­na­tio­nal stu­dents and fresh­ly gra­dua­ted talent living in Oulu, rea­dy to bring their exper­ti­se to your com­pa­ny – as emplo­yees or trai­nees.

The Oulu Talent Hub pro­ject is fun­ded by the Euro­pean Social Fund (ESF) and car­ried out by Business­Oulu, Uni­ver­si­ty of Oulu, Oulu Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sciences, Educa­tio­nal Con­sor­tium OSAO, and Oulu Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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