Despite the greyness of November, I was full of enthusiasm: soon I would be talking to students again about the forest industry. Currently in progress, “A Forest of Opportunities”, Mahdollisuuksien metsä, is a campaign where hundreds of forest industry ambassadors will visit schools to educate young people on the forest sector by providing information on innovative products and the wide range of study and work opportunities available in the field. Meeting young people is always rewarding and now I speak from experience, having given more than 20 lectures at schools around Finland.
We have long discussed the need for closer cooperation between schools and working life. In my opinion, having a national campaign to increase awareness of the forest industry among young people is extremely important. For me, serving as an ambassador is also about responsibility: I want to take responsibility for ensuring that young people are provided with realistic and motivating information about working life. I encourage young people to think about their strengths and t to do the job to the best of their abilities, even if it is not necessarily their dream job. This principle will help them get through working life, from their first summer job towards their dream career.
One of the most rewarding aspects of school visits is the opportunity to talk about my experiences of studying and working life and about my path to the forest industry. If someone had asked me when I was fifteen about my career plans, I don’t think I’d have known what to say. I have always been interested in many things, as well as being willing to learn and challenge myself, but I never had a dream job when I was younger. I wanted to become a nutritionist…or an artist...or a veterinary assistant...
I studied education at the University of Lapland and was offered an internship at Metsä when I graduated. That marked the beginning of my career path in the forest industry and in Metsä Group, a company whose values are consistent with mine. Here, I can further develop the company’s operations, as well as my own expertise.
And here I am – in a global industry, in a company that develops solutions for global challenges and leads the way in developing the bioeconomy of the future. This requires a great deal of expertise in a broad range of fields, which is why we cannot afford to have young people to disregard our industry due to unawareness or outdated images of our work.
I invite all my colleagues at Metsä Group to work with educational institutions when the opportunity presents itself. The more ambassadors we have going out to schools and colleges, the more multifaceted information we can provide about the forest industry, encouraging future talent to seize the opportunities we can offer. And to my colleagues in the field of education: let’s make our expertise visible! An ambassador speaking from their own experience is the best way to improve an employer’s image in any field.
In the autumn, forest industry professionals visited Finnish schools to provide ninth grade students with information about the forest industry and its new products, as well as study and work opportunities. "A Forest of Opportunities", Mahdollisuuksien metsä, is a campaign implemented by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation in cooperation with forest industry companies and the Finnish Forest Association.