Enthusiastic young professionals from various backgrounds and nationalities met each other in a two-day bootcamp at the Biofore House in Helsinki in September. 14 talents had been accepted in the UPM Bioforce graduate trainee programme and, for the next 18 months, they have a chance to learn about their special fields as well as see operations outside their expert areas.
The UPM Bioforce Graduate Programme trainees applied directly for specific positions based in China, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Uruguay. The trainees for the new pilot programme went through a thorough recruitment process, from detailed forms to psychological test, video interviews and problem-solving team work assignments in the assessment day.
Jukka Pohjonen and Juanita Roqueta
“My previous work experience is from Chilean embassy and from a marketing company. They were both very different industries compared to UPM. Applying for Bioforce graduate trainee programme introduced me new recruitment processes, especially the individual and team assignments in the assessment center” says Juanita Roqueta from Uruguay. Juanita heard about the programme from the Universidad de Montevideo, where she studied International Business, with an exchange period in Portugal where Juanita specialized in negotiations.
Juanita’s trainee role is in UPM Stakeholder Relations, one of the global functions supporting all UPM businesses globally. Juanita has started working in communications at the Fray Bentos mill in the beginning of last summer. She will also work some months in Helsinki and get to learn forestry communications and operations.
Besides their own role and business, all the trainees will work on three modules outside their own area. The modules can be in other business units or functions of the company. Working abroad is a must in the programme.
Learning from the best
Jukka Pohjonen is one of the Finnish trainees. He recently started at UPM Kaipola paper mill in process development. Jukka has previous experience from UPM Nordland Papier mill from summer 2016, a trainee period he learned about from a UPM HR representative at a student fair. “UPM has always been well presented and visible among students in the field. A company that’s easy to approach,” Jukka thinks.
He studied Materials Science and Engineering and says the wide scale of his studies is useful in today’s quickly changing working environment.
“My main expectations are the people at UPM, who I am going to meet and work with. I will learn a lot by working with the top professionals. I suppose working with new people can get challenging, too. But it is essential to get along if you want to have results, and stepping outside your comfort zone is an effective way to learn your own capabilities.” Jukka is interested in learning the German way of working, and he will go to UPM Hürth mill in Cologne for a few months as a part of his training.
People from Germany are also coming to Finland for training. Jennifer Mönch has studied International Management and she specialized in sales and marketing. Jennifer’s trainee role is in UPM Pulp sales.
“I started in July in sales. I have read a lot about pulp and the company and the business, and I participated the pulp schooling in Finland in the beginning of August. I got to plant a tree and visit the Kaukas mill integrate in Lappeenranta.”
Jennifer says pulp is interesting and new business for her. “Individual consumers don’t buy pulp as such. Unless you work in pulp or paper industry, you don’t really think about it much. I am keen to learn more about fibers.”
Friendships for life
UPM Bioforce graduate trainees are passionate and driven to develop their expertise. Networking with other trainees and making friends for life are a welcomed bonus. Group discussions in social media are already flowing active and lively.
The trainees hope to find their future jobs through the programme, but they also look forward to improving their skills and challenging themselves in demanding assignments. “I think this is a terrific opportunity! The world changes very fast and UPM keeps up with it. Being a part of this evolution and change is a fantastic challenge,” says Juanita. Jennifer and Jukka agree. They say they are honored of being a part of the pilot programme.
“This is an amazing investment UPM has placed in us. We will do our best to live up the expectations”, Jukka says.