Finland Kaks ´Kättä työpaja Oy

Two Hands Workshop operates in the cities of Seinäjoki and Ilmajoki , South Ostrobothnia region in Western Finland. It is a typical Finnish Workshop, where unemployed youngsters, people at risk of exclusion and long term unemployed people can get support.

The goal is that everyone in the workshop could find
a path either to study or to work in the open labor market.

Brief history of the Workshops:

First workshops in Finland were established in 1980s.

It was seen as possible solution against the issue of youngsters exclusion from school and work life. Target group was out of school, out of work youth who are in danger of marginalization.

Finland plunged into a deep recession in the 1990s and mass unemployment was a result. Therefore the need for workshops was increased, and they are set up in almost every municipality.

The founders were specifically municipalities. After the recession unemployment rate declined slowly and stabilized to a higher level then what was before the recession. The workshops become constant. These days, there are about 200 workshops across the country

The beginning and the type of business:

Two Hands workshop was established in 1994, when Finland’s recession was at its worse. Finland became a member in EU at 1995 and workshops were able to be funded partially by ESF (European Social Fund). Workshop obtained the rights to operate in a vacant old shoe factory owned by the Seinäjoki Municipality. The workshop, was separated from the Municipalities, and formed an independent organization.

Please check the table:

The municipalities are members of the association that owns the joint-stock company. In operations, there are division of tasks between the Association and the Company.


Unemployed people from all the ages continuously come to the Workshop. However, people younger than 25 get special help. They are offered great deal of support: Personal goals are drawn up for the Workshop period, working skills development5 training provided, and they receive personal guidance. The workshop has simple ways to help people out of work.

These are:

  1. work in the workshop departments
  2. training
  3. personal counseling
  4. extensive network of local support

The most important effect of the Workshop is that the unemployed are working in the workshop every day for a relatively long period. Particularly, young people receive rehabilitation and their activity level and self-esteem increases during the workshop period. Workshop period begins at trial time, which is unpaid. They are paid financial support from the government during this time.

(KELA- organisation taking care of payments for aid and compensation to people according to the laws). Long term unemployed generally works in the Workshop for a whole year, during which the workshop gets support from the government. For young people, the Workshop gets support for 11 months. The first 1- 6 months are trial period with an option to continue 5 more months. In average young people stay in the workshop 8 – 9 months. Annually there are 70 – 80 youngsters and 60 older long term unemployed persons working in the Workshop.

The Workshop has moved to its new premises in Seinäjoki (about 2000 m2) in the year 2013 and in Ilmajoki (about 500 m2) in the year 2012.

There are 6 departments:

  1. Sapuska Restaurant
    • around 100 customers per day
    • own bakery

  2. Domestic Assistance
    • Daily food purchases for distribution to customers designated by the City of Seinäjoki
    • Mainly weekly help with cleaning for the customers with sickness or injury that lives close by

  3. Recycling centers Ekocenter
    • Recycling operation in Seinäjoki and Ilmajoki
    • Recycling is tax free income
    • This is the Workshop’s income

  4. Wood Department and Carpentry
    • All the woodwork and solid wood plate
    • Industrial sub-contracting (eg. the legs of the bed)

  5. Metal Department
    • All sorts of Metalwork
    • Mainly Industrial sub-contracting

  6. Construction Department
    • Minor works in the nearby area (eg, apartment houses’ waste disposal container storage, garage, and apartment renovations)

Departments are led by work coaches. Additionally there are two individual coaches counseling the unemployed with personal issues and problems. The workshop has also its own development manager and IT instructor/operator. Financial department has two permanent employees. Besides these workshop has few projects funded by the Employment Office or some other organization.  (For example: The Slot Machine Association).


The expenses of the workshop are around 1.4 million. per year. This consists mostly of wages. In recent years the workshop was able to cover about 40% of the costs by the sales of the departments’ produces. There have been studies in Finland about this type of social enterprises and their significance to the national economy. The research has shown that if the social enterprise can cover more than 1/3 of its expenses from its own revenues, the cost to public is zero. The reason for this is; In Finland a person receives support in any case for his housing and livelihood in unemployment situation.

Therefore the workshop has covered 40% of the costs with self-sufficiently. Communities pay 30% of the costs and Employment office 20% and Ministry of Education 10%.

For more info, contact us:

Kaks ´Kättä työpaja Oy: