Since I started in the UPM Bioforce Graduate Trainee Programme, I have noticed one word popping out here and there in various contexts: change. People working at the mill level tend to say that the basic matters at a paper mill hardly change. On the other hand, the paper and biorefining industry is nowadays under constant change. How do these two views play together in daily work life? How can people from various backgrounds help a company to cope with altering business environment and society?
Being a fresh graduate who has moved to a whole new town, change is timely for me on a personal level as well. Learning about the mill processes, products, different employee roles and responsibilities, getting used to routines of daily work life and getting to know the colleagues, and so on. This all is new, but also very rewarding. Instead of being a burden, the change has been inspiring and kept me going through challenges. In retrospect, my feelings were similar back in 2016, when I worked as a summer trainee at UPM Nordland Papier in Germany.
Thriving on change
Looking through a larger scope, the ability to embrace change in our surroundings and ourselves could be a valuable asset for the whole company. While the basic mill level operation and challenges have remained relatively unchanged, the tools to solve them are developing quickly. In order to maintain a competitive edge, it is required to adapt to the new technologies – and numerous other matters, that include e.g. new ways of working, ways of communication, and altering the field of industry. There is an obvious need for people who not only adjust to change, but also get energized by it.
And anyone can have this kind of trait. In my opinion, much potential can be found in us, the millennials: young employees and talents who have lived most of their lives in the center of accelerating technological development and rapidly altering megatrends. Many of us have learned to thrive amongst changes and can spread our positive attitude within organization and help to increase readiness for change.
Even though the power of change is a significant factor, there is no reason to diminish the ability to sustain stable operations. This kind of experience makes it possible to recognize patterns in business environment (or within organization) and to create long lasting success. It is desirable to have both types of employees, so that the advantages and possibilities of both, changing and keeping status quo, get perceived.
When it comes to my own path in the Graduate Trainee Programme, I’m enthralled to have a chance to get to know various working environments and cultures in the upcoming months. I’m looking forward to collaborating with wonderful people who provide me with all the information and stimulation needed to fully experience both relentless changes and perseverance in operations.