Story | 11/22/2023 10:32:11 | 3 min Read time

UPM Graduates Life: Contributing to sustainable timber

Laura Lahtinen

UPM Graduate

Moro! Read on to find out my thoughts and feelings after six months as a UPM Graduate.

With my graduation approaching rapidly, I was confident that I wanted to work for a company that prioritizes sustainability. And, further, I was hoping to find a role that would allow me to contribute directly to sustainability initiatives. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of position I was looking for, so I was open to exploring different options and learning new things. That’s when I came across the UPM Graduate Programme – and here I am now writing this post after six months on my graduate journey. 

In May 2023 I joined UPM as a Graduate in Sustainability and Operations Development at UPM Timber, which is part of UPM Fibres Business Area. Like many others, I had limited knowledge of UPM and thought that it was primarily a forest and paper company. I have since learned that UPM is definitely much more than that. UPM is a diverse organization with many businesses and products, Timber being a good example of its lesser-known business areas.  

Although I’m primarily based at the Tampere office, I’ve had the opportunity to visit all our sawmills and observe the production process of sawn timber. This has been a great way to gain a concrete understanding of the business and operating environment, especially since I didn’t have any previous experience in the forest industry. I was surprised at the complexity of the timber business and supply chain considering that the product itself is rather simple. I’ve been impressed by the knowledge and professionalism of my colleagues, and every encounter has taught me something new. Continuous learning and development are great motivators for me and therefore these past six months have been an inspiring experience. 

The people in this business have also surprised me. I’ve had the chance to get to know employees across the Timber team and from other business areas, and it’s clear that the Timber business and UPM overall are united by a strong sense of community. Regardless of the location, whether at mills or other offices, I have always felt welcome. For me, the atmosphere of a workplace means a great deal, and at UPM, the atmosphere is genuinely supportive and welcoming.

 

Looking ahead

So far, the program has exceeded my expectations in many ways. Firstly, I’ve been positively surprised at how the managers have listened to my wishes concerning tasks and rotations. At every stage of my journey, I have felt encouraged, and my ideas and thoughts have been heard. I joined the Graduate Programme hoping that the experience would clarify my career goals. Even though I still have a long way to go, my initial ambition to work closely with sustainability and business development has grown stronger, and UPM provides an excellent platform for diving deep into these areas. Meeting up with other Graduates is a fun and important part of the Graduate Programme for me. It’s nice to share experiences and learn from each other, and I’m really looking forward to our next common event!

The UPM Graduate Programme is indeed an all-inclusive package for gaining knowledge and networking. I can already say that this experience was an excellent choice for me as my first career step after graduation. I am eagerly looking forward to what the rest of the program has to offer!

The positions for the next UPM Graduate Programme 2024 can be applied in December – January.

www.upm.com/graduate 

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