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From the Black Sea to Lake Constance – a courageous step to a fresh start

25 October 2019

Anatolii Samoilenko from Ukraine originally studied to be a teacher. Now he is braving a fresh start in a very different place: he is completing an apprenticeship as a mechatronics engineer for refrigeration technology with ENGIE Refrigeration in Lindau. And not only that, Samoilenko suffered from a serious eye disease as well. He is facing his new challenge with a great passion for mathematics, technology and physics.

From a Ukrainian village to university

Samoilenko comes from a small village near the Black Sea and grew up with agriculture. “My father is a farmer. Even as a small boy I would help him with his work. We bred our own animals, for example,” the apprentice remembers. When he finished school, he left his native village and moved to Kryvyi Rih, a city of 650,000, in order to study physics, astronomy and information technology. However, it quickly became clear that something was wrong with Samoilenko’s eyes. His condition worsened, and within three years he was nearly blind. He was suffering from keratoconus, an eye disease during which the cornea becomes progressively more deformed.

Medical treatment in Moscow

All the more remarkable, then, that Anatolii Samoilenko nevertheless completed his degree and earned a diploma by using his sense of hearing. After university he underwent several operations in Moscow. During his time in the Russian capital he reached the decision to travel to Germany. He had always been interested in other countries, cultures and languages. “Germany was close to me in terms of mentality,” he explains. An au pair programme brought him to North Rhine-Westphalia. Subsequently he completed a voluntary social year at a clinic on Lake Constance. He also got involved with the federal volunteer service and finally began to research educational opportunities in Germany. Luckily, he chose ENGIE Refrigeration.

Training as a mechatronics engineer for refrigeration technology

Samoilenko told us with great enthusiasm that he finds the subjects he takes at vocational school very interesting: “electrical engineering, climate and refrigeration technology, for example. And I have many exciting practical duties in the company. I simply like working with my hands.” He also likes his workplace at ENGIE very much – his position in the Service International section offers plenty of variety, great colleagues and a lot of travel. He is also very grateful for the help his employer provided in obtaining a residence permit.

Excellent future prospects at ENGIE Refrigeration

Today Samoilenko leads a normal life again – in spite of his illness. While his career has been anything but straightforward, he now wants stability in his future. Both in professional and personal terms he is decidedly upbeat about the future. “I want to put down roots at ENGIE and gain plenty of expertise in my field,” says the future mechatronics engineer for refrigeration technology. And he tells us he wants to start a small family with two children. Of course, there should also be time for cooking, reading and doing sports. ENGIE Refrigeration is delighted to have found an apprentice in Anatolii Samoilenko, who not only has excellent qualifications but has also gained plenty of life experience early on.

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