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“I gained courage and self-confidence and learned social skills”

These were the sentiments of one of the participants in Valmet’s youth program after their training period. In celebration of Finland’s centenary and Valmet’s 220 years of industrial history, Valmet wants to support young people, particularly those still looking for their strengths and path in life.

Over a one-year period, the program provides 100 young people aged 16–29 with a unique opportunity to strengthen their working life skills in a safe environment at Valmet for a few weeks. The purpose is to improve their employability by reinforcing their initiative, supporting their self-esteem and improving their social skills.

Around 50 young people participated in the program in the spring, in Valmet’s locations in Tampere, Pori, Ulvila, Järvenpää, Kajaani and Espoo. The other half will complete their training period in the fall in various locations.

“I was really nervous on my first day at Valmet, but I immediately found everyone to be very friendly and laid-back. There was no reason to be nervous,” said one of the participants about their first moments at Valmet.

Learning in many ways

The feedback from the first group on their training period was positive. For example, more than 50% of the trainees felt that their self-esteem had improved.

“I became more confident about my skills and future,” one of the participants wrote.Another wrote, “I gained positive experiences, which made me more confident with people and new situations.” “I learned how to get along with different kinds of people, and I gained a lot of self-confidence and working life skills,” a third person reported.

The young people listed filing, preparing PowerPoint presentations, taking photos, scanning, checking conference facilities before meetings and cleaning the storage facility for work overalls as their favorite tasks, among many others.

“The best part was to be able to attend meetings and hear many perspectives.” “I liked working at the reception desk best, because the work there enabled me to learn about a field that interests me.”

Support from mentors

Each participant had a mentor or two to provide them with guidance on their tasks and practical matters. The mentors helped the young people alongside their work.The participants appreciated the mentors’ input.

“I truly enjoyed my three weeks at Valmet :) Thanks for your patience (my attention span is sometimes too short and I’m not always that good at reading situations). And thanks for the interesting tasks :) I learned a lot during my training period and was able to develop myself!”, said one of the participants.

“Thank you for making me feel needed and useful,” said another one.

The mentors were also pleased with the experience.

“The best aspect was that I learned a great deal from the young people. I had lunch with them, and I learned about how they think, talk about things and process their emotions, and about their general attitude toward life. They are interested in working, not making use of people through networking. To them, everyone is equal, regardless of job title and position,” said one of the mentors.

“I’m proud of Valmet as an employer. This is one of the many ways in which the company bears social responsibility. This realization motivated me and made me more committed to the company,” another mentor reported.

Valmet planned and implemented its youth program in cooperation with the Children and Youth Foundation, Academic Work and Work Pilots. The Children and Youth Foundation is responsible for recruiting young people for the program and for coaching their mentors. Academic Work provides the participants with coaching in job seeking and study-related issues as part of the program.