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Southern Finland employment agency buses jobseekers to Uusikaupunki Mercedes-Benz factory

Last month Valmet Automotive announced plans to hire 1,000 workers to build Mercedes-Benz cars in southwest Finland. Now the Uusimaa employment agency in southern Finland has been taking job applicants to the plant by bus.

Mercedes Benz GLC-katumaastureita valmistuu Uudenkaupungin autotehtaalla.
Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki. Image: Valmet Automotive

Finnish automobile industry firm Valmet Automotive's announcement last month that it was planning to hire and train some 1,000 new employees has sparked a good deal of interest.

But since there hasn't been a huge number of suitable candidates in the south-western municipality of Uusikaupunki, the national employment agency TE has started bringing potential job applicants by bus from across the Uusimaa region.

The agency said it is sending the third such busload of jobseekers to the plant, which is located about an hour-and-a-half north of Turku. Further similar trips are also planned in coming months.

Suvi Lindfors, who's a specialist at the agency, said jobseekers interested in working at the factory have high hopes and some have already landed positions, with others saying they would be willing to move to the area in order to secure employment.

She said some jobseekers are going to check out the company out of sheer curiosity, adding that moving house for a new job is a big step. Lindfors said that the bus trips have already resulted in several job offers.

Biggest problem may be housing

As he waited for the bus from Helsinki to the auto plant, Matti Hyvärinen who has been a metal worker for 35 years, told Yle that a move to Uusikaupunki could well suit him.

"I've also worked in Hanko [the southernmost city in mainland Finland]. It was lonely there. Nothing was going on in town except during Midsummer and the Regatta [summer sailing festival]," Hyvärinen said, but added that even if the situation in Uusikaupunki is similar, he'd still consider moving.

The biggest hurdle for the new Valmet Automotive workers may well be finding somewhere to live. According to the municipality's website, Uusikaupunki had just under 16,000 residents in September. Due to the lack of newcomers, the area has not seen new housing being built in recent years.

Now that the carmaker has finally started hiring, some temporary modular housing accommodations are reportedly being set up for the new arrivals.

_EDIT 13.3.2018-This story has been edited to clarify the difference between Valmet, a paper and pulp products firm, and Valmet Automotive, a separate company that owns the Uusikaupunki plant. _

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