As Kouvola-based Gerbaw Byman started working for UPM in the apprenticeship programme in March 2014, he had already acquired a basic degree in the machine and metal industry and gained some working experience in the field of mechanical wood processing. The young man wanted to do something new in his life, and he is now very satisfied that he applied for a two-year apprenticeship period at UPM.
– The degree mostly consisted of on-the-job training. It is always good to start a training from the theory side, but you learn best by doing. For me, the best part of the education was clearly the fact that we got to see many different sides of the mill and we understood how things happen in practice. It was easier to see the big picture that way.
Right after his apprenticeship period, Gerbaw got a fixed-term contract at the paper mill, and five months later he landed a permanent job at the finishing hall.
Working as a finishing assistant has been varying, sometimes also demanding.
– As the finishing assistant I always step in for the person who is absent. The cutter operator handles the machine that cuts paper. The finishing utility makes sure that we have enough utensils. In this job you have to master many different duties, also the tasks of packers and arrangers. And the cutting machines are not all similar, Gerbaw says.
A good orientation in the beginning and the atmosphere at the mill get warm thanks from Gerbaw.
– The working environment is really nice here, everybody gets along and we get things done. It’s always nice to come to work. If you are active and you want to get further training, there are good possibilities for that too.
”A good way to learn the job”
Miro Huuskonen completed a vocational degree in the paper industry at the Kaukas pulp mill. He had no experience of working at a pulp mill, so the process was previously unknown to him.
Because Miro had studied electric automation before, his studies at UPM were oriented in maintenance and electric automation. Now he is an automation technician at the pulp mill.
– The target of the maintenance is to keep the production going nonstop. I spend a lot of time outside during my workdays, and the conditions may be hot or cold, high places or tunnels. Sometimes the place is covered in sawdust. If I work near the wastewater treatment plant, I have to wear a respirator.
Miro has enjoyed his independent work. A typical working day starts by checking the notices of defect. If there are any malfunctions, they have to be fixed. If the production is running immaculately, Miro deals with less urgent maintenance projects. He likes installation work and fault-finding most.
– The apprenticeship programme was definitely a good way to learn this job. You can’t learn everything by just sitting at school. You can never find out what all the machines look like and what they actually do in practice by just looking at a book.