Exciting internship in the laboratory at UPM Plywood

20.8.2020 11:00 EEST

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Vincent Bellersen has been working as a trainee in the laboratory at UPM Plywood. During his internship in the laboratory at the company’s headquarters in Lahti, he has learned a lot about product testing and the features of different plywood products. His experience was truly memorable as he also got to visit the Pellos Plywood Mills in Mikkeli and enjoy the Finnish summer as its most beautiful.

Vincent Bellersen came to Lahti from Bremen, Germany. His educational background includes tourism management studies and business studies. Lately he has been doing his three-year-long internship at Enno Roggemann in his hometown Bremen. While working there, Vincent heard about the internship opportunity overseas in Europe. His colleagues at Roggemann recommended that he apply for an internship at UPM Plywood, which lead to contacting UPM’s office in Hamburg successfully.

“Now I’m here, and I haven’t regretted my decision for a moment!” Vincent smiles.

Before coming to Finland Vincent didn’t have any specific expectations about working at the laboratory as he didn’t have any previous experience from laboratory work. He travelled to Finland with a positive and open-minded attitude, ready to learn and develop his skills, and of course, to have a good time. Unfortunately, the global pandemic raised a few doubts in Vincent’s mind causing uncertainty because of the restrictions in traveling and normal working policies onsite. During the spring, postponing the internship was also on the table, but despite the dark cloud coronavirus cast over the world, Vincent could travel to Finland as planned.

Learning about product testing in a positive work environment

As soon as he arrived in Lahti, Vincent learned that at the laboratory all WISA plywood products undergo continuous and systematic testing – to ensure that the products meet UPM Plywood’s quality standards and the customer’s end-use requirements regarding, for example, the product’s durability, strength and friction properties.

“In the beginning my supervisor showed me around the laboratory, what kind of tasks do they carry out and what are they testing, so I was just trying to learn everything I could,” Vincent describes.

Bending, shear and pressure tests became familiar to him, and he also got to work with internal database systems where he recorded the test results. “I really appreciate the effort my colleagues put in to show me their daily tasks, giving presentations about different WISA plywood products and their physical features, and also teaching me about product testing,” Vincent adds.

Vincent’s trainee period here in the laboratory lasted only three weeks but fortunately he got to meet his friendly and helpful colleagues and work with them despite of the summer holiday season and the recommendation to work remotely. Vincent is also very happy that the pandemic hasn’t affected the interaction within co-workers and the working culture at UPM Plywood.

 “I am very grateful to every single co-worker here, who put in the effort and took the time to introduce me to the products and show me what the guys are doing here at the laboratory.”

When asking if there was something that surprised him, Vincent tells how he was amazed by the size of the laboratory and the amount of work that goes into these products. As many as around 80 different product tests are in use at UPM Plywood and the testing spans from development through to production and even further.

“It was nice to see how thorough the work is to guarantee the quality of plywood products,” Vincent emphasises.

Valuable and memorable experience 

He had offered to do a weekly blog for Roggemann, in which he describes what kind of tasks he has done and what he has learnt.

“This is something I can totally recommend. There’s a great working atmosphere at UPM and it’s very nice to see how well people treat and respect each other. The working environment is stress free and I can see how people care about each other!” Vincent sums up.

After his internship Vincent is going to stay here in Finland for a few weeks and discover the beautiful nature of Finland, go to a summer cottage of a new friend from work and explore different cities. “I really like Finland and its nature. It is so calm and peaceful here compared to crowded cities back in Germany,” he says. As an experienced traveller Vincent has visited numerous different countries, but never in Northern Europe or in Scandinavia before. As it is his first time in Finland, there’s plenty of things and places to see and discover.


Text: Elise Sivonen

Photo: Aleksi Leinonen