A lifetime opportunity

Published 9 February 2016
​​​​Oskari Luoto moved 400 kilometres from Lohja in Southern Finland in order to work in the brand new LVL mill in Varkaus. “This is a true opportunity of a lifetime,” says Oskari who will be one of the shift supervisors responsible for smooth operations when production is up and running.

Stora Enso announced approximately a year ago that it will invest 43 million euros in a new LVL line built in Varkaus. This investment is significant also in terms of new job opportunities created in the Varkaus area.

"When the new open positions were published last autumn, we received hundreds of applications which was cerrtainly a positive surprise,” says Jaakko Huovinen, Operations Director at Division Wood Products unit in Varkaus.

Now 48 new employees have been selected. Oskari, 24, is among the youngest ones, but he is joined by colleagues of different ages and backgrounds. “The people we have selected share a strong attitude and eagerness to learn new things,” defines Jaakko Huovinen.

Eager to face the challenges

For the first months of 2016, the new LVL line workers have been sitting in three classrooms filled with lively conversations. They are not just chatting, but rather studying in order to be able to run the new production starting during the second half 2016.

All employees of the new LVL mill also participate in vocational training including either Further Qualification in Wood-based Panel Technology or Special Further Qualification in Wood-based Panel Technology. In addition, the programme includes safety training, business procedures etc.

Heidi Nordlund has been satisfied with the studies so far and feels prepared for the challenges ahead. “I have a background as an automation engineer. I see working on the LVL production line as a great opportunity to challenge myself and learn new things.”

Broader knowhow

Not all 48 employees selected to the LVL operations team were new to Stora Enso. Seventeen of them moved from the Varkaus sawmill when operations went to to one shift late last year.

"When hearing about decreasing production at the sawmill, we were also informed about new opportunities in LVL production. I was eager to apply,” says Veikko Junkkarinen. Having sawmill as well as LVL production experience will be a huge asset for these people as well as for Stora Enso in the future.

Ilkka Satta, Production Manager on the LVL line, also sees a great potential in having people from the sawmill now switching to the LVL mill. “It adds useful experience and flexibility at the Varkaus site in general. We want employees to be able to run the production quite independently. Having a good understanding of the whole process is essential for high quality performance. It also enables employees to shift smoothly between positions in production,” Ilkka adds.

An opportunity to build a completely new mill does not come very often. “I’m also really eager to be one of those building the working culture from scratch,” Oskari Luoto concludes.

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