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Article: Traineeship gives a foothold in the job market

In 2015 Metso participated in a trainee program aiming to support young graduates moving into the job market in Finland. In the current economic situation, the unemployment rate has been a rising problem among young graduates. The idea behind the program initiated by Mentors of Finland Association is that getting some work experience makes it easier to apply for the next position.

As part of the program, Metso offered eight trainee positions for recent graduates. One of the trainees was Mika Bäckman, who had graduated in spring 2015 from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. He worked as part of the business intelligence team in the Group Strategy department at Metso’s head office.

“I have been able to do real work right from the start: On the afternoon of my first day I was in a meeting with external partners discussing the development of Metso’s business intelligence tools,” Mika says.

The program gives the trainees an opportunity to work with duties that correspond to their education. In practice, Mika gained an understanding of the market by following what Metso’s mining customers and competitors were doing.

“That involved familiarizing myself with things that were new and really interesting to me, such as commodity prices and production volumes. As part of the business intelligence team, I got a broad view of the aspects that affect Metso’s business. I learned a lot: for example, how important it is to verify the data in order to base decisions on facts rather than on rough estimates. It was actually a bit of a surprise for me to see just how deep the team dives in the areas of particular interest and to see how management pays such close attention to details in order to get the full picture.”

Trainee also brings new perspectives

The manager has a big role in orientation when the trainee is taking their first steps in the working world. Mika’s manager, Yu Chen, emphasizes open communication every step of the way:

“It is my responsibility to let the trainee know what is expected and to set clear targets. Overall, my role was to provide resources so that Mika could understand our business and how we do things.  On the other hand, Mika also brought fresh perspectives to our team. It is important for Metso that we find people who are able to grow together with the company,” Yu Chen says.

Yu Chen knows what he’s talking about; he himself first came to Metso as a trainee three years ago after graduating. He has since worked as a business analyst and senior analyst before taking a manager position in the business development function.

“Having a trainee on our team was very educating. In order to help Mika adapt to the team and to provide him with guidance, I had to think about how to help others to grow and how to motivate them,” Yu Chen says.

Mika feels that his trainee period at Metso has given him a lot for the future:

“I have seen how this global company and its international teams operate, and I got full exposure to the Metso culture. In addition, I have learned many useful analytical skills that will be valuable going forward.”