This spring we have had the pleasure of celebrating two graduates. Petra Westerlund and Katri Rientamo, who have been working for Relicomp for more than ten years, have pursued further studies in the field alongside their jobs. With her recent degree, Petra joins our talented team of IWS welding coordinators, and Katri brings additional know-how to Relicomp with her training as a mechanical engineer. Training alongside work was a tough job, but well worth it.
’Studies are never a waste. You always pick up new ways of doing things and new perspectives on your own work,’ the women say.
With their new training, both women will take on more responsibility and the scope of their tasks will be further expanded. Katri was instantly appointed as a supervisor. Together with her team, she will drive Relicomp’s quality work forward with determination. Petra, in turn, will be working more in an advisory and monitoring role. Her responsibilities will include such tasks as inspecting welds during production, and she will be heavily involved in the development of our welding process.
TRAINING PROVIDES NEW PERSPECTIVES AND CONFIDENCE IN YOUR OWN WORK
Moving forward is what these women are all about. However, these women were not aiming for a total change of duties when they started their studies. Both were more interested in challenging themselves and developing their skills. Petra says that the additional training gave her a lot to take away:
‘During the training, I realised how many things welding actually entails. Just the way you handle the piece being welded has an impact on the overall result. To ensure quality, you need to find just the right way to handle the piece. If the welding parameters are too low or too high, the quality of the piece will be compromised. So you need to know what you’re doing. The training strengthened this knowledge and, of course, gave me a lot more confidence in my own work.’
Katri feels much the same way and continues:
‘Even though gaining new information can feel painful at first, at the end I always feel confident that now I know this and I can do this. In my training, I learned a lot of new things about project work. Relicomp itself provides a good framework for learning project work, as the company is happy to develop its equipment and ways of working. So there are always interesting projects on offer. For my thesis, I took on a project to redesign Relicomp’s painting process. It was a very interesting and educational experience. The thesis was the most interesting part of my training. Although my thesis is not directly related to my own work, working on it gave me good management experience.’
Katri’s research led us to develop and expand our dual-layer powder coating process. Katri led the roll-out of the process, and the new method was fully implemented in spring 2021.
KATRI RIENTAMO: ‘RESPONSIBILITY IS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO WANT IT, AND IT HAS WORKED WELL FOR US.’
Katri and Petra have enjoyed their time at Relicomp. This is largely thanks to the variety of tasks, but also to the nice co-workers. Working in a male-dominated company requires a relaxed attitude and a good sense of humour. However, no one is discriminated against; everyone is on the same footing, regardless of age or gender.
‘There’s a persistent stereotype that working in a machine shop is hard and dirty. These days, it’s not at all like that. Our production facilities are clean and bright, and we have cranes, robots and many other tools to make our work easier. Men and women work here with equal effort and in perfect harmony,’ Katri says and continues: ‘Men and women have different ways of looking at things and doing things, and both are needed in this industry.’
Katri and Petra say that they are fortunate to have an employer that encourages and helps them study and develop their skills. You do not always need to go to school to learn, as you can also develop your skills by working.
‘I have worked here since 2007. During that time, there have been huge developments in my own skills and those of my colleagues, as well as at Relicomp more broadly. We’ve added a lot of new equipment, robots and automation, and of course many processes have been taken forward. It’s been fun to observe all these developments,’ Katri says.