It’s been almost a year and a half since the war in Ukraine began and people fleeing the conflict sought refuge in Ireland. At Seetec, our new team of Ukrainian speaking service support workers are on hand to help these individuals to find and secure employment.
Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our new Service Support Associates, Svitlana Yurkevych as she tells us about her career to date and gives insight into the last three months of onboarding Ukrainian clients.
“In the Ukraine, I had a good job, a good career and a good life in general. I was Chief Customer Officer in a big Ukrainian startup. My background is in IT and agriculture. After the war started, the company lost a lot of warehouses, money and business. I could see that we were losing clients and that I would lose my job. The situation there was getting bad, so I knew I had to leave.
“I always loved the environment and habitat of places like Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and the UK but the main reason I chose Ireland was because it’s almost a second Silicon Valley with lots of tech head offices here and my skills are in IT. My main problem was that I couldn’t speak English well enough. I had to come here and start from scratch.”
Svitlana initially worked as a waitress for Intercontinental and Powerscourt Hotels to improve her English, while also taking part in a project run by Trinity College Dublin to assess the emotional impact of Ukrainian children relocating here and attending Irish schools.
“It was a great decision. I got to speak directly with native speakers and now I can recognise whether someone is from the U.S., England or Scotland. But after eight months, I wanted to do something more serious. Something where I could continue to improve my English but also something that would help other Ukrainian people too.
“It feels amazing when you get positive feedback from people you have helped. I received a call from a Ukrainian lady yesterday who I gave advice to about finding employment while also being a single mother to her four children. She was so grateful to have all the information she needed about her options.”
It’s been four months since Svitlana began at Seetec and almost three months since we began meeting Ukrainian clients. In this time Lana has been busy supporting our Employment Advisors whilst also preparing and translating our marketing and support collateral. She believes the response to our new service has been incredibly positive.
“It feels like 80% of our clients are super happy because they have people to speak with about their hopes and plans for their future. Employment, self-employment and supports, they have people to give them advice. It’s been great working with the Employment Advisors, you can see they all really want to help people even though it’s not always easy working with people whose first language isn’t English.
“I’ve really enjoyed my four months here. I love my team, and everyone here is always available to help and I’m so grateful to Director of Service Support, Fintan Murray and our Service Support Manager, Nataliya Rassokhina for giving me this opportunity and running such a great service.”