What will I become when I grow up? What kind of work would I like to do? Some of today’s young people already know the answers, while others are still looking for their own path. During practical training at Valmet, many were able to clarify their thoughts about their future direction. “I learned to recognize what I’m good at and what type of work I like or don’t like. I’m now considering my options for the upcoming joint application period,” one of the participants said when giving feedback.
Last year, Finland turned 100 years and Valmet 220 years old. To celebrate both milestones, Valmet wanted to acknowledge particularly young people who are still looking for their path in life by offering them an opportunity to develop their readiness for the working life. A total of one hundred people aged 16–29 took the opportunity to learn skills needed in the working life and to have a look at the operations of a large, international corporation.
Participants to the training periods in the spring and fall included both unemployed people and people participating in the VALMA preparatory vocational education. Three-week training periods were arranged at Valmet sites in Tampere, Pori, Ulvila, Järvenpää, Jyväskylä, Raisio, Kajaani and Espoo. The participants were paid ten euros per hour.
"Unemployed young people worked for 30 hours during the practical training. The clear majority of the participants were VALMA students who worked for a total of 90 hours and for whom the training was included in their studies," says Sini Vilppula, HR Generalist at Valmet.
Confidence in one’s abilities
Participants to the program got the chance to give feedback after the end of the training period. Of the participants in the spring, 91 percent and of the participants in the fall, 97 percent would recommend Valmet to their friends. Only seven people dropped out of the training. The working period left participants with fine experiences and new lessons learned.
"I became more confident about my skills and the future," one of the participants said.
"I learned to be more open-minded about what kind of work I want to or can do based on my skills and interests," another one related.
"I learned to model 3D pieces and make drawings out of them," said a third one.
Support and safety from a personal mentor
Every young participant received at least one mentor from Valmet personnel who guided them to meaningful work tasks and gave practical advice. The mentors themselves gained a lot of new insights during the project and had a positive view on their assignment.
"Mentoring takes a lot of time, so one’s own work tends to pile up. However, it was all worth the trouble, after hearing from the young people that they have had a good time and learned new things," was the feedback from one mentor.
"It was great to see how within a period of three weeks, a shy young person who walked in through the door grew into an effective employee with a responsible approach to their job. The young person’s opinion of self was still too modest in the final discussion. For me, the project was a nice boost to the everyday work. It is great to get a chance to proudly tell about Valmet to young people," another mentor wrote.
"It is more difficult for young people to start their career today than it was for me in my time," a third one said concerning the challenges facing the young.
Valmet implemented the program in cooperation with the Children and Youth Foundation, Academic Work and Work Pilots.
Back in the old days
A skiing competition for children organised by Rautpohja in Finland in the 1950's.