Summer jobs at Oulun Energia: Nurturing the environment at peat bogs and by processing waste

29.12.2021

In the summer of 2021, we have employed a total of 31 summer employees for a variety of tasks, from production to support activities. This two-part blog series on summer work takes a peek at the summer workers' journey through the various activities of Oulun Energia. This time, we talked to Olli and Elle, who work at the Rusko waste sorting plant, and Linnea, who performs environmental monitoring tasks at Turveruukki.

Horseflies and pH values: a summer job at Turveruukki

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“I maintain that the horseflies are the size of sparrows this summer,” says Linnea, who works as a summer intern at Turveruukki. Linnea's work includes environmental monitoring, and her job is to take care of environmental issues in peat production areas, such as water quality. It is tested by examination of samples taken from the water in the production area. If, for example, the pH values of the water are not what they should be, a sample is taken and sent to the laboratory for further examination. The different measurement results are also documented carefully. A student of environmental engineering at the University of Oulu, Linnea’s workdays include not only visits to peat bogs up to Tervola, but also office days at the Turveruukki office in Toppila.

“This was definitely the first place I wanted to work, because I’m interested in focusing on industrial environmental monitoring in the future,” says Linnea, who says that she sent a summer job application to Oulun Energia as soon as the application period started. And the work has been in line with expectations. Linnea in particular has liked the diversity of the work and the fact that it has been possible to take responsibility for its tasks. “I have also learned a lot about the effects of peat production to the surrounding nature and, for example, about the after-care process that takes care of the production area when its use for peat production is stopped,” Linnea says.

Development of processes at the waste sorting plant

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Olli and Elle's summer job as technical trainees at the Oulun Energia waste sorting plant in Rusko is unique in the sense that they are the first summer employees at the plant while it is in operation. The waste sorting plant, which was commissioned at the end of 2020, sorts waste from construction, commerce, and industry and forwards the sorted waste for recycling and recovery. The main product of the plant is the recylcled SRF fuel, which is processed from the waste, and then used in the energy production of the Laanila bioenergy plant.

The work of Olli and Elle consists of a wide range of tasks at the plant, such as production resource management and reporting. In the new plant, summer employees have also been involved in the development of processes, such as a project to make the plant's conveyors leak less. “Currently, the plant's conveyors are leaking slightly, causing material to accumulate on the surfaces. The aim is to develop this together with the contractor, and hopefully the result will be a cleaner process,” says Olli.

According to Olli and Elle, the work can be modified to best suit the trainees' interests, and an curious attitude goes a long way. “As an environmental engineering student, it has been interesting to learn about machine and process engineering through practice,” Elle says.

The people at the sorting plant have already welded together tightly in a short time. The work is taken seriously, but the work is done with a twinkle in the eye. “When I read the usage diary at the beginning of the summer, I wondered about the repeated entries about the ‘massive sausage’ that jammed the drum screen. Soon it became clear that it meant a blockage, which due to the movement of the drum is shaped into a long tube,” recalls Olli.

A cosy work community and meaningful tasks have ensured that Olli and Elle have been happy to come to their summer job every morning. “I feel like time has gone by in a flash,” they say.

An open mind and genuine interest are important

Linnea, as well as Elle and Olli, remind future applicants of the importance of an open mind and independent attitude in summer work – this is how you learn the most, and make as much of your summer job as possible. The regular staff have confidence in summer workers, and this is reflected in the importance of a self-starter attitude. “Your interest in the work is important, and you should constantly observe your surroundings, and for example, address the shortcomings that you have noticed,” Linnea says. “You don't need to know everything in advance and you don't need to stress about it, you’ll learn it all here,” Olli sums up.