When Lukumanu arrived in Finland in 2014 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (VAMK), it was his dream to later land a job in a relevant field at Wärtsilä Corporation, a Finnish company that manufactures and services power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets.
Prior to that, he had studied Fashion Design and Textiles at the Accra Technical University (ATU), graduating in 2012.
“During my time there [ATU], I had the intention to continue my education abroad, especially in Finland due to their excellent educational system. I wanted to pursue more marketing and business-related courses,” Lukumanu said.
While pursuing his bachelor’s degree at VAMK, Lukumanu applied to Wärtsilä Corporation many times, and though he kept on getting his applications rejected, he never gave up.
He later got a part-time job as a cleaner in a cleaning company that stationed him at Wärtsilä’s facilities. Cleaning Wärtsilä’s various facilities for over 3 years, he used the opportunity to network and build relationships with the employees at the company.
In 2019, Lukumanu left the cleaning job to work at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences as a Marketing Intern. Thereafter, he worked at the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. Then in December 2020, there was an opening for an On-Call Project Purchasing Trainee at Wärtsilä Corporation. He applied, and this time, he was accepted and officially started in February 2021.
While working as a trainee, Lukumanu went beyond his routine tasks to engage senior management by sharing his insight on Thought Leadership. “This added to their understanding of the concept. Similarly, I participated and contributed to our organization’s strategic initiatives. This led to my networking extension,” he said.
He continued in June 2021 as a Summer Trainee in the same position, which required him to participate in strategic initiatives to learn and contribute to the strategies of the organisation.
His hard work, dedication, and contribution to the company as a Summer Trainee were recognized by his colleagues and the senior executives. He was nominated by his colleagues for the Summer Employee of the Year award at the National Responsible Summer Job Campaign organized by Oikotie.
Lukumanu beat other summer trainee nominees from 128 other organisations in Finland to win the 2021 Summer Employee of the Year award on October 7, 2021, making him the first-ever Wärtsilä employee to win it.
The award was delivered by Sara Mäki-Kala, chairperson of Henry ry. She highlighted that the category of Summer Employee of the Year presented great nominees making it difficult to choose a winner. However, considering their criteria of positive attitude, proactiveness and personality, Lukumanu Iddrisu emerged as the winner of the award.
After receiving the award for the Summer Employee of the Year, Lukumanu used the occasion to entreat Finnish companies to start utilizing the knowledge and skills of foreigners in Finland.
“I believe we have a lot of value to add to the successes of your various industries and contribute to the society. Furthermore, as Finland faces major labour challenges, I believe, we as foreign graduates are the best resource companies can use to bridge the gap. Too, hiring us can lead to a successful multicultural company as we have multicultural experience from our countries of origin and of Finland,” he said.
He is, however, set to join Wärstilä Corporation’s Human Resource and Employer Branding team in Vaasa, after completing his summer internship.
A day prior to winning the Summer Employee of the Year award, Lukumanu was honoured as the first Alumnus of the Year recipient at the first-ever alumni event of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, for his positive impact as an alumnus.
Reacting to this achievement, he said: “I’m really honoured. When I got admission to study at Vaasa University of Applied Sciences, my dream was to graduate and get a suitable job in Finland. I never imagined that whatever I did during and after school made a positive impact, and it never occurred to me that I would be chosen alumnus of the year.”
Lukumanu has made a name for himself in the city of Vaasa for his contribution as a community builder and his participation in community events as a keynote speaker. He also guides international students and immigrants on how they can strategically network, build relationships and validate their value to Finnish industry players.
Currently pursuing a master’s degree in Strategic Business Development at the University of Vaasa, Lukumanu aspires to build a career as a Strategic Business Developer who will help companies make major business decisions, as well as working as a Thought Leadership Consultant.
The Writer: Pilot Sedode