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Blog | 10/26/2021 10:22:24 | 3 min Read time

UPM Graduates Life: Riding the winds of change

Joonas Laitila

UPM Energy, MII, Energy Technology Specialist

Forests are burning, cities are flooded, and winter is no longer coming. Global warming is something that should steer a company towards a world beyond fossils. As that happens to be the company’s ideology – UPM provides a younger, fresh out of university energy engineer (me), the working environment one desires. Ample opportunities in a quickly changing industry with the possibility to grow and learn. Now add a graduate program on top of that with a good mentor and experienced managers and you have a formula for greatness.

UPM Energy is Finland’s second largest electricity producer and it must provide a sturdy and reliable basis for other business areas inside UPM to grow while taking part in the biggest industry transition ever witnessed themselves. This takes hardcore expertise and vision on what is to come. As Energy’s first Graduate Trainee, I’ve had the opportunity to ponder electricity prices from tomorrow until 2030 and all the technologies involved. World’s energy mix will become renewable, intermittent, and more interconnected making forecasting hard. Luckily, I’ve had the best teachers, and colleagues to understand some of it.

During my spring as a SPOT market analyst in the Market Analysis team, I forecasted short-term electricity prices and learnt the intricacies of electricity price formation before transitioning to a desk analyst for the Hedging and Financial Trading team. There I took part in visualizing the energy markets from electricity to gas and coal and eventually ending up in EUA pricing – the price on carbon everyone is talking about. Throughout my time at UPM Energy the graduate program provided a good platform to ask questions, get feedback and most of all do things.

Having seen the energy market side for nine months, I rotated to UPM Biofuels where I had the opportunity to look at the regulative side that binds Finland to emission goals and especially its effects on biofuels and molecules in EU. I worked in a team that mapped out the global market-to-be by 2030 and my job was to study US transportation sector carbon abatement and what technologies will prevail there. This combined with carbon farming and its hedging strategies gave a good premise to implement what I had learned about different energy markets and their regulative drivers – now applied to real life technology studies.

Throughout my graduate program, I’ve felt like I am taken care of and that the company is invested in my employee growth despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic. Different working environments and methods combined with clear goals from small improvements to industry broad visions have molded me into a more prepared employee for my career to come. I would like to thank all my colleagues at Energy and Biofuels Growth for making my graduate program an experience of a lifetime.

I’m excited for the future since my career with UPM Energy will continue as an Energy Technology Specialist at a time when the world around us is evolving rapidly and we must learn to ride the winds of change.

If you are thinking about applying for the graduate program – I can only recommend it!