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Why would 2700 young people want to work for Stora Enso?

​​Starting a global leadership trainee programme during a heavy restructuring process may seem like a foolish thing to do. But in reality, it is crucial for Stora Enso’s future, and the trainees are expected to help in the change process. In fact, three of the trainees, Myrene Duerto-Kivelä, Frida Pettersson, and Björn Thelin, see that the forest industry is now more attractive employer than ever.

Published: 2/18/2014 3:00 PM

Photo: Teemu Kuusimurto

​“You think Stora Enso is so established and so old that it’s inspiring to see the company evolving from a traditional forest industry and paper making business into something new,” says Myrene Duerto-Kivelä. She is one of 22 trainees who joined Stora Enso in September 2013.


It’s the possibilities with wood raw material – new applications, many of which are undoubtedly yet to be discovered – that make the entire forest industry an appealing employer also during huge structural changes. The possibilities of the sustainable raw material are endless. Tapping into this potential ensures that companies like Stora Enso will offer exciting job opportunities for years to come.

​​“I didn’t realise that there’s so much going on within new applications for fibre. There are so many brilliant and exciting ideas being developed,” says Björn Thelin.

​“That’s the kind of company I want to work for: bringing new things to the market to improve the lives of people,” says Björn Thelin.

Björn works as Business Intelligence Analyst in Stora Enso’s Consumer Boards sales and marketing team in Stockholm, in a position that was one of the most popular during the recruitment process. ”The trainee programme was an added bonus; I would have been so disappointed if I had not been selected for the position,” he says.

The trainees were chosen from a group of 2 700 applicants. Instead of applying to the programme in general, everyone had to apply to specific permanent positions.​


New talent is needed

The trainee programme is important to Stora Enso, as it adds talent to the organisation and provides the company with new perspectives. In addition to the fact that the forest industry is seen as struggling, the majority of Stora Enso’s jobs are at mills, which are located near raw material supplies, close to the forests and usually far from big cities. The attraction of the programme is needed, as it can be difficult to hire educated young people to these locations.

Frida Pettersson decided to take the challenge and moved to a small location to work as as a Development Engineer at Fors Mill in Sweden. She’s passionate about technology and loves working close to the machines at the mill. “It might sound scary to move to a small town. But you don’t know what it’s like until you try. I would encourage young people to take that chance!”

Stora Enso’s demographic profile doesn’t look good, especially in Europe, and there is a growing need for educated people who can take on leadership roles in the future. The trainee programme alone doesn’t solve these issues, but it’s a move in the right direction.


Change is absolutely necessary

The trainees are not blind to the hardships faced by the people who are being laid off. For example, Frida’s start in the company wasn’t easy. Fors Mill has gone through heavy restructuring and about 100 people were affected. “It’s dramatic to see the impact of reductions. The mill is a major employer in the region,” she says.

“I’m joining a company that is also laying off thousands of people. How should I think about that from a personal viewpoint?” says Björn. “I’m proud to work at Stora Enso because the company is full of competent and hard-working people. Even though we are going through tough times, I feel a team spirit wherever I go and I think it’s incredible,” he continues.

The trainees also understand the dilemma of change – it can be unpleasant for the people, but at the same time it’s necessary in order for the company to be successful in the long term.

“Change can be difficult if people are resistant to change and they don’t realise that it’s necessary to win. But nothing ever stays the same, so you just have to adapt,” Myrene Duerto-Kivelä says.

“I have never seen this kind of initiative in a big company. It is really something unique that Stora Enso is so open to new ideas,” says Frida.