A job at a saw mill leaves time for summer fun too

21 January 2016

UPM hires around a thousand young people yearly to work in mills and offices all around Finland in the summer. Niina Mäki has worked at Seikku saw mill in Pori, Finland for five summers in a row. Niina encourages women to apply for jobs in the statistically male-dominated forest industry. The right attitude will take you places, and a saw mills’ work hours make it possible to enjoy the summer thoroughly.

Niina applied for a gardening job at the saw mill five years ago and was accepted. Although there are sometimes dozens of job applications to write, it is still a good idea to spend a little time on the writing, advises Niina.

“It’s important to give examples of you working hard instead of just saying that you are a hard worker. Anyone can say that. Tell a real story about you working hard,” says Niina.

Niina currently studies social sciences at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences. Her studies allow her to take on shifts at the mill during holiday seasons and occasionally when the mill is in need of an extra worker. After finishing her studies she will have experience from two different fields. The current situation on the job market will then influence her career choices.

“It’s always fun going back to the mill for work. Many women believe that the industry only offers opportunities for men. But I believe it is worth pursuing for women too. I started working at the mill’s garden when I was fifteen years old. The last two summers I’ve spent in the mill.”

Listening and learning are important when starting at a new job

The work at Niina’s station at the mill bindery consists of packaging and putting hoods on bundles of timber. The basics of the work can be learned in two weeks. The best part of working at a saw mill for Niina, has always been the great team. You can talk about anything! It’s also rewarding to see ones professional capabilities grow.

”Learning to do the work properly is rewarding in itself. There are no real setbacks to the job but there are certain challenges. It’s vexing when there’s a problem at your station and you do not know the solution to it. The permanent employees always know what to do, and at the end of the day you’ve learned something new. At my workstation there is no noise impact, which means we can chat while working. There’s constant interaction with the other employees, which is awesome,” Niina says.

There was no need to think about work after the shift was done but Niina has noticed that her interest in the forest and paper industries has automatically grown. She often finds herself reading news about the industry.

Working in three shifts hasn’t been a problem for Niina. “I like the night shifts. It is certainly hard work, but it is an amazing feeling to get off work at six in the morning and go straight to bed. I can sleep until four in the afternoon. My football practice has usually been at six PM. The night shift worked really well with the practice. Working in three shifts makes it possible to do all sorts of summer things,” Niina explains.

The readiness to listen to and learn from others are the most important things to remember when starting at a new job. “You have to be willing to learn and a have a little humility too. There’s no point in just putting on your own show all the time. It doesn’t make a difference if you’re a shy person or very social, as long as you’re interested in the work you do and the people around you, you’ll be fine.” says Niina.

Saara Töyssy

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