UPMBiochemicals
  • Careers articles
  • UPM Graduates Life: Starting a career in the forest-based industry
Blog | 09/07/2022 13:28:20 | 3 min Read time

UPM Graduates Life: Starting a career in the forest-based industry

Bruna Mohr Giesbrecht

UPM Graduate

I am a forest engineer, so UPM has always been a name I know well, despite the several thousand kilometres separating my homeland Brazil from the company’s headquarters in Finland. But it wasn’t until I landed in Germany that I first heard about the UPM Graduate Programme and discovered this amazing opportunity to start my long-wished-for career in the forest-based industry.

Throughout my forest engineering studies, I had the chance to build up knowledge in all the different areas in which the forest business is involved. After finishing my Master’s studies – which focused on wood products and technology –  it seemed only natural that I would eventually cross paths with UPM. After all, I can’t think of a more diversified and innovative forest-based company than UPM.

It was a great privilege to be chosen as one of the appointed graduates after a challenging selection process – although it was nowhere near as challenging as the day-to-day operation of a paper mill. As a graduate in production engineering, I need a deep, holistic understanding of every step in the paper production process to assure the best results. I am based in Dörpen, northern Germany, and if you think about how big our paper mill is, you can probably imagine that there are many operations happening simultaneously and that an incredible number of variables need to be controlled to ensure work and environmental safety (which are always top priorities), quality, profitability and of course, sustainability.

During my first week, I was very warmly welcomed and immediately given the opportunity to get to know our people and processes with the help of an induction plan. From that time onwards,

All my colleagues supported and helped me with much patience and understanding. The language barrier is never a problem when there’s empathy involved, and cultural differences can offer fresh perspectives on both old and new problems.

My appointment has offered exciting opportunities to get involved in many different sides of production, for instance I had the chance to participate – with varied levels of responsibility and involvement – in projects ongoing in different teams and development phases at the WWTP (wastewater treatment plant), paper machine and the coating machine. Besides that, the monitoring of processes and products is never the same from day to day when you are dealing with such a complex structure. This complexity is an extra source of motivation for close teamwork in finding the best possible solutions.

What particularly motivates me is that we are constantly looking for ways to reduce fresh water and energy consumption and improve waste management. In other words, sustainability is a constant concern and most importantly, action is taken – even if that means having to change habits and, sometimes, ways of thinking.
 


 

The programme has offered many development opportunities in the form of training, networking with different departments, the chance to learn from very experienced professionals in the industry, job rotation activities (mine starting soon in Finland), and of course the chance to be part of a great group of young professionals such as ours. In addition, having an assigned mentor was personally very valuable to me. Having counselling and regular support in navigating unknown waters has helped me to overcome challenges and attain new goals.

For a young professional, the graduate programme is the best possible way to start a career in our industry. The challenges are big, as are the expectations, but the reward comes to those who stick it out. For now, after presenting my final assignment together with my graduate colleagues in Helsinki, I plan to continue working as a production engineer with my great team in Dörpen for the long run, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me at UPM.

From paper production to global responsibility
Story | 3 min

From paper production to global responsibility

Read more
Forest resilience and biodiversity at the core at UPM Blandin, Minnesota
Story | 5 min

Forest resilience and biodiversity at the core at UPM Blandin, Minnesota

Read more
Should we use more wood or protect all forests?
Story | 2 min

Should we use more wood or protect all forests?

Read more