A woman from Ukraine who was forced to flee her country after the Russian invasion has settled in Staffordshire, securing a full-time job with help from a work experience programme.
Before arriving in Staffordshire, 27-year-old Anastasiia Pliaka was a lawyer in her hometown of Kharkiv in Ukraine. She arrived in Staffordshire in June 2022, as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme being co-ordinated by the county council.
The university masters graduate and experienced legal professional in the war-torn country, moved in with Stafford family Delia and Brett Phillips. It was Delia and Brett who believed in her and told her about the Staffordshire Jobs and Careers’ Open-Door programme, that provides work experience placements.
Anastasiia signed up to the programme in May 2023 and was given a placement with the council’s legal team.
She said: “I’d like to say thank you to everyone in the council’s legal team and the Open Door team for giving me such a warm welcome and such a great opportunity.
“Being able to do the work experience placement was wonderful. Working in the legal team has really improved my English and helped me to focus on honing my employment skills. I’ve really developed those hard and soft skills, and now I feel much more confident in my work.
“Leaving Ukraine was difficult; my mum and family are still over there; they try to do everything they can to support my country and I worry about them most days.
“I do love Staffordshire. This place gave me new friends, new work and new opportunities in my life. This little warm town gave me a chance to believe in myself”.
“I have one life motto and the recipe for success from one of my favourite quotes from William A Ward. “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”.
Anastasiia has gone on to secure a full-time job with international company QBE.
Philip White, Deputy Leader at Staffordshire County Council said: “Anastasiia’s story really shows what hard work and determination, combined with the right help can achieve, and it’s brilliant that she has settled so well here in Staffordshire. It’s also great that our Open-Door team were able to step in and help her get some valuable work experience, which helped her get her full-time job.
“Our Homes for Ukraine scheme has been a huge success since launching and it’s thanks to the wonderful hospitality and generosity of people in Staffordshire. Over 900 people have chosen to make our great county their temporary home, with many working and playing an active role in our communities.”
The Open-Door programme is available through the new Staffordshire Jobs and Careers service. This is a comprehensive service with advice on jobs, careers, training and learning opportunities in Staffordshire, all in one place. The Employment Brokers offer bespoke advice and guidance to residents to find employment across the County and to support businesses with their recruitment requirements.
People can find out more at Staffordshire Job & Careers Brokerage for Residents.