Variety of development: Inspiring site experiences

Aug 22, 2023

The world of project management offers versatile development opportunities in a rapidly changing environment. Academic studies prepare us for many challenges, but true learning comes alive when theory meets practice. We would like to share with you four inspiring stories from Project Professional (PRO) trainees Jonne Korhonen, Aapo Länsimies, Jonathan Winqvist and Miikka Pihkola who worked at Valmet customer projects sites during their PRO trainee period.   

Gaining Valuable Insights in Fiber line Commissioning at customer site in Finland 

Jonathan's journey as a PRO trainee took him to Kemi customer project site, a journey that began in May and continued until mid-August. As a master's student specializing in process engineering at Aalto University, he was entrusted with valuable insights into Valmet's fiber line and cooking processes. Jonathan's time was divided between hands-on learning and project management courses. His narrative, one of continuous learning, reveals the profound impact of being a part of the Fiber line commissioning team.  

A group of Valmet Project Professional Trainees standing on top of a paper mill looking towards horizon.

Jonathan’s summer was full of collaborating with colleagues, contractors, and customers. He dived into mechanical, instrumental, and process challenges, while also grasping the nuances of human interactions in a high-pressure atmosphere.  

I really want to thank all people I have worked with as even though, it’s a project with a high-pressure atmosphere, the general cooperation inside our team and between the customer has been excellent. If I didn’t have school to attend to, I would have gladly stayed at site until the final start-up”, Jonathan told us.  

Adaptability and problem-solving skills were crucial for success at project site in Poland 

Miikka, a Valmet PRO Trainee and an Energy Technology student at LUT University, brought his four years of study experience to his summer trainee journey. His familiarity with project dynamics and solid educational background allowed him to seamlessly integrate into the site environment. Miikka was assigned to site work in Poland to a heat and power plant that uses biomass as raw material. At the site he learned that while planning is essential, adaptability and problem-solving skills are needed when the unexpected arises.  

As they say, a well-planned and designed project is already halfway done. However, things don't always go as planned. This is when the importance of site organization becomes particularly evident so that the responses to problems are as quick as possible and preferably preventive, minimizing delays and costs”, Miikka comments.  


During his time at a customer site, Miikka learned the importance of developing and maintaining relationships and the significance of collaboration. Work atmosphere among Valmet and subcontractors’ colleagues has been consistently excellent and culture and language differences brought positive extra spice. Miikka considers it very important to work together and maintain good relations with colleagues while everyone at the site has the same agenda i.e., to execute the project forward.

Thriving experiences from office to customer project site in China 

Aapo and Jonne, two PRO trainees with diverse academic backgrounds, worked in Board and Paper Mills’ project operations during the summer. Aapo, an Energy Technology student, and Jonne, a Mechanical Engineering enthusiast, embraced the summer, filled with tasks ranging from risk assessments and resource management. They were given a great opportunity learn from experienced colleagues in 2 different countries. Their PRO trainee journey took them from Valmet Jyväskylä office to a customer site in Shandong province in China. Working in multi-cultural project in new country is an excellent way to learn the importance of diversity and the global business in general.  

Valmet PRO trainees, Aapo and Jonne standing in front of a Valmet paper machine


Working in office and at the site, have given Aapo and Jonne a deep understanding on how complex Valmet’s project management and site operations are.  

This trainee program has given us a real touchpoint to work life and it has provided in a short period of time a lot of important information and given us readiness to confidently face challenges in the future. The opportunity to enter a completely new kind of work environment at the other side of the world, offered unprecedented practical learning and experience that we could not have experienced in a regular summer job”, Aapo and Jonne share.  

Valued experiences from learning to leading 

These stories from our four PRO trainees are inspiring, which shows that profound individual growth is gained by giving real, concrete working opportunities and challenges to young people who are open minded and have the desire to learn new.    

Read also: From theory into practice – Embracing growth