Read about 2022 summer with Neste, directly from our trainees. Milla Pirttilahti and Santeri Hietanen share their experiences, reflections, and tips for future professionals.
Embracing different employee backgrounds at the workplace
Milla Pirttilahti, IT Communications Summer Trainee in the Digital Workplace Team. She recently graduated as a Bachelor of Social Sciences and in the fall, she will continue her studies towards a master’s degree in the programme of Politics and Communications at the University of Helsinki.
When I started my summer traineeship at Neste in May, I was naturally quite nervous. Not only is starting a new job always nerve-wracking, but I was especially nervous about joining Neste as a student of social sciences. When I heard that I’d been chosen for the role of an IT communications trainee, I could not help but envision myself as the odd one out in a trainee group full of business students.
My vision was false, of course, since I had not taken into account the rather obvious fact that our IT department would have about as many technology students as it has business students. But earnestly, by the end of my first day at Neste, all of my fears had already been proven wrong. Everyone in my team was even friendlier and more helpful than I could hope for, and the other summer trainees welcomed me with open arms regardless of any differences in our academic backgrounds.
I did not have to spend many days at Neste before I could already notice myself thinking about myself and my colleagues at Neste as us rather than them and I. Against my previous anxieties, it was not difficult to achieve a sense of belonging at Neste. The summer trainees in the IT department very quickly became a large and lively group of colleagues from different fields of study and expertise.
Our different backgrounds did not divide us but rather gave us many opportunities to share our own knowledge with others and learn from each other. Over the summer, I have spent many moments interviewing my colleagues about their respective expertises in web design, data science and programming, eager to hear more about what they do.
It took me some courage to start my summer traineeship at Neste and join a group of colleagues from backgrounds quite different to mine. However, after that, the people at Neste helped me with the rest. It’s easy to work with people who care about your shared goals and are happy to collaborate with you. I believe that it’s the people who make a company, and for me, it’s been all of my colleagues who bring to life Neste’s values of caring, cooperating and having courage.
During my time here, it’s been inspiring to see how people from various cultural, academic and professional backgrounds come together to work towards a shared purpose of creating a healthier planet for our children. As a social sciences student, this summer has taught me a lot about working in the private sector in contrast to the heavy focus on the public sector in my studies.
It’s been great to learn so much from my colleagues over the summer and at the same time broaden my own career horizons with the knowledge that my studies allow me to branch out to various alternative paths. After all, we must work together and collaborate between different fields of expertise when striving towards a more sustainable future.
Reflections on #SummerWithNeste
Santeri Hietanen, Electrical Supervisor trainee in the OP Asset Management PL 1-2 in Porvoo. He is studying for a bachelor's degree in Electrical Power Engineering at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. He is also a student active by being Vice-chair of the Student Parliament and Vice-chair of the Uudenmaan Insinööriopiskelijat UIO ry board.
I started my Summer with Neste in June 2022, as an Electrical Supervisor trainee in Neste Porvoo Refinery. I was excited to take on new challenges as this was the first job in my field. I was interested in Neste as an employer because it actively develops new innovations and is one of the world’s most sustainable companies. I also got good recommendations from previous summer trainees.
My own experiences
A good induction has been of paramount importance. A good instructor gives appropriate responsibility but also takes accountability of the trainee. It has been great to feel that WE as Trainees are essential. We are encouraged to share ideas for improvement and to point out shortcomings. It has also been necessary to receive feedback, both good and bad. Of course, good feedback is essential, but to develop as a professional, you also need constructive criticism.
The atmosphere at Neste is relaxed and conducive to learning. Safety at Neste is taken seriously, and instructions are given at a pace that is appropriate to one’s abilities, which has facilitated learning on the job. Through my work in production at Neste, I have gained a lot of experience in the demanding process industry, and this is why Neste's diverse work tasks are also well suited to a career starting engineer.
Continuous development is the key to success
Neste supports individual development through various programs, such as safety training, first aid training, and other job-specific training. Neste has an open culture of encouraging people to bring up ideas for improvement. Neste has its idea portal where everyone can contribute their ideas. The best and most feasible ideas are rewarded. Continuous development keeps the work meaningful. Meaningfulness always gives you more and motivates you. That's why everyone should do what they love.
Career tips for future professionals
Make the most of your training. Listen, discuss, and get involved. Listen to your peers and learn from their experiences. Talk to colleagues and other trainees. Discussions with other colleagues and especially with other trainees are golden learning moments. The more experienced colleague can learn new perspectives from the trainee, while the trainee gains confidence, encouragement, and skills from experienced colleagues. Get involved, and be brave and open-minded when participating in events and discussions.
It's also worth making the most of your time while studying and getting involved in student activities. Being active in different communities has given me valuable experiences in my working life, such as teamwork skills, project management, and taking responsibility. Networking is also beneficial for learning and future working life. It is essential to share experiences. So remember to make a LinkedIn profile as soon as possible and update it regularly.
Many lectures and theoretical studies only open up in working life. For example, we were taught how to make electrical drawings, and now at Neste, I get to interpret these electrical drawings in practice. That is why it is essential to know the theory so that you can apply it in practice. My studies have given me a good start in my working life, and the energizing working atmosphere at Neste has increased my interest and strengthened my feeling that I am in the right field.