The pulp and paper professionals of the future are safety conscious and responsive

8 March 2017

The second UPM Future Professional apprenticeship programme, organised at UPM Kymi pulp and paper mill and Kaukas pulp mill, began on a sunny winter’s day at Vierumäki, near Lahti, just after the World Ski Championships. The corridors were bustling with experts on both pulp and paper as well as skiing.

Matti Laaksonen, General Manager, UPM Kymi and Kaukas paper mills.
Matti Laaksonen, General Manager of UPM Kymi and Kaukas paper mills, emphasised the meaning of attitude, safety and versatile skills when talking with the students.

During the two-day training all students starting their apprenticeship at Kymi and Kaukas had a chance to get to know each other and the UPM staff, and to learn about UPM’s ways of working. There were 1028 applicants to the two-year apprenticeship programme, 27 of which were chosen. Of them 17 will be working at Kymi paper and pulp mills, and 10 at Kaukas pulp mill.

In the opening ceremony Hans Nyström, Labor Relations Manager at UPM Kaukas mill, encouraged the students to be proud of their place in the programme. “You can feel good about yourself! We believe that you 27 are just the people UPM can train to be the future professionals of the pulp and paper industry.”

Having their own apprenticeship program has proven to be a good way for UPM to find knowledgeable and committed personnel to the needs of different businesses and even single sites. “Having your own, tailored, training programme is a major investment from UPM. We commit to a careful recruitment process which helps maintain our industry know-how long into the future”, says Pia Pasi, the head of HR at UPM Pulp.

In his speech to the students Matti Laaksonen, the General Manager of UPM Kaukas and Kymi paper mills, emphasised the importance of safety. According to him, safety is a key element in the training. On the other hand, safety is even more dependent of the most important thing, which is attitude towards work. “To me, the best sign of a professional is doing everything safely. I expect for this group to be grade A students on that as well,” Laaksonen said.

Besides good attitude and safety consciousness Laaksonen also emphasised the importance of a broad range of expertise, constant development, commitment to the community, and staying in good shape both physically and mentally.

Varied education supports development

All the applicants chosen into the program already had a vocational upper secondary degree of some kind. There were people with backgrounds in paper, electrical and automation technology, machine technology, automotive technology and process technology.

Lasse Lehtonen, a helicopter mechanic, starts his apprenticeship at the Kymi mill. Lehtonen spent last summer working in the maintenance of the pulp mill. “My experiences during the summer job inspired me to apply to the program. After two years we’ll be real experts. I’m already very familiar with safety because of my previous training in aviation mechanics,” Lehtonen says. Lehtonen likes to take on challenges also in his free time – he has, for example, restored a 1979 Mercedez-Bentz!

Miro Aarrevuo starts his apprenticeship at the Kaukas pulp mill maintenance in Lappeenranta. For an automotive and heavy machinery technician work in mechanical maintenance is easy to approach. Aarrevuo has also taken the matriculation exams. ”I have high expectations for this training programme. I especially look forward to working with my supervisor and learn from him. It’s great to have a chance to learn from someone who has been working in the industry for several decades,” Aarrevuo says.

For both Lehtonen and Arrevuo it’s important that their work offers possibilities for development and advancement.

“The more varied the job is, the better. It’s important that your career has direction, and that you have a chance to do different kinds of things,” Aarrevuo says. Lehtonen agrees. “It’s important that your career isn’t stuck in a rut for years on end.”

It would seem that the right people have then been chosen for this training programme: ready to answer the industry challenges of the future!

The group of 27 students on the opening day of UPM Future Professional apprenticeship programme at Vierumäki Resort.

Main Picture: Miro Aarrevuo and Lasse Lehtonen are looking forward to learning a lot from the more experienced paper and pulp professionals at UPM.

Saara Töyssy

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