Osuuskunta Paluu co-operative wants to make Tampere the capital of returnees, i.e., a place where the experience of returnees is valued and utilised. The goal is to make returning to a Bright city as easy as possible.
Several years working abroad, then returning to Finland with bags of international experience, cultural knowledge and excitement. One might imagine that employers would be lining up for the chance to get a returnee to their payroll. The reality can, however, be very different: the benefits of work experience gained abroad may be difficult to prove to possible employers and official forms are missing a box for entering competence gained abroad.
Osuuskunta Paluu co-operative was established in Tampere this year. Its origins lie in these kinds of experiences and a team spirit generated during an entrepreneurship course targeted at returnees. The co-operative wants on one hand to make returning to Finland easier and on the other hand increase awareness of returnees and their skills.
– Returnees often have experience-related expertise that is not necessarily visible in a curriculum vitae. A returnee has to first identify his or her own competence and then be able to bring it forward in career choices and job hunting, says Managing Director Outi Lehtonen of Osuuskunta Paluu.
– International experience means different things to different people. For me personally, more than anything working abroad gave me the ability to be flexible, to see things from many different perspectives and to search for solutions rather than culprits, says founding member Jenni Kallionsivu of Osuuskunta Paluu.
Practical work forms of Osuuskunta Paluu are being developed. The operations include three main lines: counselling, training and employment. The co-operative can give the first practical pieces of advice at a stage where a possible returnee is just considering moving back to Finland. It is also easy to get involved in the activities.
– You can join in the network by paying the co-operative’s C contribution. This way you get information about the co-operative activities and services, i.e., you can take your time and explore how you can make use of it. And because this is a co-operative, the contribution will be returned to you after one year, if you do not want to continue as an owner member, says Lehtonen.
If you are interested in the co-operative activities, you can also apply to become a member of its group of active members. Then, you can, for example, work via the co-operative.
– It enables you to test business ideas: you can work for a customer and the co-operative takes care of invoicing so you do not need to set up your own company. The co-operative also includes specialists in many fields so it is easy to find help for developing ideas, says Kallionsivu.
Osuuskunta Paluu operates a popular low-threshold idea clinic that holds meetings where initial ideas can be shared with others in order to get help for their development. The core group of the co-operative has wide knowledge of the decision-making systems and authorities so ideas can see a quick progression if needed.
International mobility increases along with the number of returnees. Nowadays, at least 9,000 people return to Finland annually. The goal of Osuuskunta Paluu is for Tampere and the Tampere Region in particular to become great places to return to.
– For us, Tampere is the capital of returnees, a magnetic place with competence in many fields and useful networks for the returnee to join, says Chairperson of the Board Sointu Lanki of Osuuskunta Paluu.
– I chose Tampere for family reasons: my husband is from here and we have both studied here. In view of my work, where I live is not important but I do hope that I will be able to utilise my international experience in working life in Tampere through Osuuskunta Paluu, says Kallionsivu who employs herself as a producer and project designer.
Lue artikkeli suomeksi Tampereen Seudun Vetovoima -julkaisusta.