Learning by doing

15 September 2015
Learning by doing

Gerbaw Byman wanted to change jobs and applied for UPM’s training apprenticeship a year ago. The risk was worth taking, because every day at the paper mill teaches you something interesting.

– I currently work with folio sheeting, which is part of the production finishing process. I’ve also been learning about the A4 cutters and the winder.

Those are the words of Gerbaw Byman, 25, who sounds like an expert already. He clearly has a feeling for the production and maintenance processes. Next March, Gerbaw will complete his paper industry studies and receive a vocational qualification, and if all goes well, he will get a post within the paper industry.

– My goal is to continue in my work. Then I would feel like I had achieved something, Gerbaw says.

He is now concentrating fully on finishing his studies, however, and does not yet feel stressed about whether he gets a job or not.

Ask and learn

Gerbaw, who lives in Kouvola, started his apprenticeship at the Kymi mill in March 2014 together with 39 other students who were admitted to the Future Expert training programme in Kuusankoski and at the Kaukas mill in Lappeenranta.

Gerbaw already had a vocational qualification in metalwork and machinery and he also had work experience within the metal and mechanical wood processing industries and at a bakery. However, the young man wanted some change in his life. His wish came true when he was admitted to UPM’s two-year apprenticeship programme. The paper mill was a familiar environment for him from his childhood, as his father had worked at the Myllykoski paper mill.

– At the beginning I was quite nervous about how I would be received by my co-workers and trainers, but everything has worked out well. I have always felt like I can ask anything here. Adapting to three-shift work has not been a problem either, Gerbaw continues.

Gerbaw says that on-the-job learning is very much about how active you are. You gain confidence if you ask a lot of questions and don’t shy away from people. At the paper mill, there is always something new and interesting to learn.

Good employment prospects

– We need new blood, because during the next five years, a large number of employees will retire from their jobs within the forest industry, says Sami Saarela, Vice President, UPM pulp operations in Finland.

The training of future experts will begin at the Pietarsaari pulp mill and the Kaukas saw mill in Lappeenranta. – We don’t want the training to consist only of machine operation and maintenance. We want our trainees to have a wider skill set. In highly automated processes, one employee may have a very wide area of responsibility. That is why you need to have a high degree of motivation to learn new things, Saarela hints.

21 trainees will be admitted to apprenticeship training. The training does not guarantee a job, but employment prospects are good. – We hire more staff than we train, Saarela concludes.

Photographs: Johannes Wiehn

Helen Moster

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