How to make the Vaasa region your new home? – Vaasa Spouse Programme helps the whole family to settle in

Relocating to a new country can be exciting but also challenging – especially if you are moving as a couple or as a family. Vaasa Spouse Programme, launched on Monday 3rd October 2022, helps international spouses to settle in the Vaasa region by offering a supportive community, guidance on how to enter the local job market, and social activities.

– The programme aims to broaden the social and professional network for international spouses and introduce them to local contacts. We see that this is hugely important for our international workers and their families. However, equally important for our local employees and students and their families, to get to know new people who are working and building a future with us, says Vice-Rector Minna Martikainen.

The Vaasa Spouse Programme is for spouses of full-time students and employees in schools and companies in the region. Spouses can join the community anytime. The programme is organised by the University of Vaasa, the City of Vaasa, Talent Coastline Employment project, ELY-Centre and Osthrobotnia TE-services.

The two-track programme helps the spouses to create networks both professionally and socially. The spouses are introduced to the Finnish working life by company visits, information on regional labour market, CV and cover letter training, and job interview simulation. In addition, SIMHE services offer the spouses personal career guidance to help identify existing career options and create a personal career development plan.

With trips and excursions, cultural events, and free-time activities, the participants get to know each other and the free time activities the Vaasa region offers. The activities are planned so that the whole family can join them.

A welcomed initiative for international talents and recruiters

International spouses can struggle with loneliness, language barrier, lack of networks, and difficulties getting their talent recognised. According to Harriet Okumu-Nisula, project assistant at Vaasa International Talents project at Novia, the programme is a great initiative for Vaasa as part of promoting the city’s attractiveness. She has experienced the challenges of a “trailing spouse” personally, having moved to Finland in 2009 from Uganda, leaving behind her life and career there.

Companies and other employers in the Vaasa region need more and more international talents and experts from different fields. The support offered for the spouse and family is one of the important factors in attracting and retaining international talents. It can determinate whether a candidate is ready to accept a post from another country. Moreover, it will determinate, whether they will enjoy their new home town.

– You can’t be happy if your family isn’t happy, sums up the Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry.

Petri Kärki from Hitachi reminds that recruiting and training an employee is always an investment for the company. It’s naturally in the company’s interests to keep the recruited talents for a longer period than just a year or two.

The companies cannot influence the whole family’s integration as much as they can influence the employee’s integration. This is where the spouse programme comes in, bringing together existing services in the Vaasa region and building up a supportive community for the spouses.

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