UK’s acceleration to net zero boosted by skilled trio from Ukraine

ScottishPower’s call for 1,000 new recruits to accelerate net zero in the UK has been answered by a trio of skilled women from Ukraine who’ve settled in Scotland due to the conflict back home.

Anastasiia Kharchenko, Alona Lystopad and Maryna Saienko are among the first batch of new employees to start work at the green energy firm this year, more than one year on from the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All three have resettled in Scotland and have brought a wealth of skills and experience from their homeland with them as they take on new roles ranging from digital and procurement to onshore windfarm operations.

The trio have all joined ScottishPower under its successful Returners Programme, which provides people who have taken a career break of 12 months or more with opportunities to re-enter the workplace in STEM roles.

Maryna, from Donetsk, will be working with ScottishPower’s corporate procurement team and brings a wealth of experience with procurement analysis and tender management from the power industry in Ukraine. She’s settled in Glasgow with her mother, husband and their two daughters.

She said: “It was very important to find a company that cares about our world and our environment. ScottishPower only generates 100% green electricity and that really matters to me. I’m a mother and proud of it, my children are my motivation. I want to leave the world a better place for them and hopefully someday my grandchildren too.”

“ScottishPower has supported us at the darkest moment in our life and having a job to us means having something permanent in our life. My team is great; they support me and make me feel more confident.

Anastasiia, 28, from Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region, graduated from Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Chernivtsi in 2016 and worked in the research, data analysis and innovation field before war broke out. She moved to Glasgow last year with her mum and has since settled in East Ayrshire.

This week she started work at ScottishPower Renewables’ Whitelee Windfarm, the largest onshore windfarm in the UK. She said: “I’m really excited to be based at Whitelee Windfarm. Looking after the environment really matters to me and it’s wonderful to feel part of a company that really wants to make a difference. I’ve been in Scotland since June last year and I really like it here, even the weather. I try to find a way to be helpful for my community and I’ve been excited to start to work at ScottishPower this week.”

Alona graduated from Ukrainian State University of Finance & International Trade, Kyiv in 2012 and worked in a senior IT role before relocating to Glasgow’s south side last year.

As well as joining ScottishPower’s digital team, she volunteers with OPORA, a charity that supports Ukrainians to settle and sustainably rebuild their lives in the UK.

She added: “Working in the digital team at ScottishPower is great, we have lots of different people from different countries which has really helped me settle in. English is a new language for me, and I’m learning to adapt to the Scottish accent too, but much of the approach to digital here is similar to what I’ve done before in Ukraine.”

Melanie Hill, Social Projects and Sector Education Director at ScottishPower, heads up the Returners Programme, which has been ongoing at ScottishPower since 2019.

She said: “We’ve all witnessed the impact of the war in Ukraine and the upheaval that many people have gone through. At ScottishPower, we’re proud to be able to offer placements on the returners programme to these three highly skilled women, helping build their skills and confidence through our mentoring programme while support their long-term career prospects. “Accelerating net zero is at the heart of everything we’re doing and we’ve a huge pipeline of projects to deliver over the next