Niko Mörö, a Finnish student of chemical engineering at Aalto University in Helsinki, applied for a place on the UPM Bioforce Trainee program 2015 on the first day applications were being accepted back in February. He was accepted in March and left for Germany in May. During a three-month internship at Nordland paper mill in Dörpen, Germany, he helped to solve a production problem that had been troubling the mill for years. After the internship, he used his experience as the basis for his thesis. Not bad for one summer in a small German village!
Niko Mörö had a good reason for applying so quickly – he had just missed the application deadline the year before.
“It always pays off to take the initiative and be well prepared. The trainee programme was very interesting for me because it offered the opportunity to both work abroad and to get experience in development engineering. I have previously worked in production in paper mills in Finland and as an intern at a laboratory, so this was the perfect next step for me.”
Hard work and support from the team produce results
Niko’s assignment was to develop a measurement method to characterise an unwanted phenomenon in heavy basis weight papers. After a thorough tour of the factory, he carried out his experiments in the laboratories, while all the test scheduling and research itself were done in the office. Almost everyone at the mill understood English, but Niko still made the most of the opportunity to improve his German. In his free time he made good use of the bicycle provided to him and visited other cities by train.
“The Nordland Mill staff were very supportive. They did not expect me to solve the problem, only to help them get nearer the solution. I also got support from Finland; they kindly sent me a key mechanical component from Lappeenranta. I also have to mention the excellent work of Nordland’s maintenance workers who worked with me to put my theoretical ideas into practice. The project was a great success and we managed to solve the issue. Because of this, UPM then offered me a job as a thesis worker; I am currently carrying out tests at the Lappeenranta research centre and will be finishing my studies in the spring.”
Niko Mörö would encourage other Finnish students to take the plunge and apply for internships abroad. Experience creates confidence and new professional opportunities. “I believe that all Finnish students can succeed in an international environment. It’s rewarding to see that we have a lot to give. A few years of study and some summer experience at a paper mill and you’re good to go!” Read more about the UPM Bioforce Trainee Program here.