Ossi Junnonen returns to his home city thanks to a job at the UPM biorefinery

Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences engineering graduate Ossi Junnonen returned to his home city of Lappeenranta in late summer 2014 when he got a job as a shift supervisor at the UPM biorefinery. Before that, Ossi lived and worked in Vantaa for nine years while studying.

Initially he was given a 1.5-year fixed-term contract following his permanent job in the Helsinki metropolitan area.  “To be honest, I was concerned about switching from permanent employment to a fixed-term contract, but I wanted to work in the biofuel production process so badly that I decided to go for it.”

He tells us that even though it was a major change of location and job, it was a worthwhile move in terms of his career. “The UPM biorefinery has provided me with opportunities to develop and advance,” says Ossi, who is working as a process engineer at the moment.

Learning and self-development are important for him outside work too. “I’m currently studying for a Master’s degree in engineering at the Lappeenranta University of Technology alongside my work. I made this decision because in addition to my job, this city offers such a great opportunity to do this,” Ossi asserts.

Interesting work and great colleagues

Ossi is currently working as a process engineer at the biorefinery. He is responsible for the pre-treatment section and the hot oil boiler. “In the pre-treatment section, the crude tall oil is processed so that it is suitable for hydroprocessing. The hot oil boiler provides the heat energy required by the processes at the refinery,” he explains. 

At the biorefinery Ossi works in close cooperation with production and maintenance workers. He already knew some of them from his previous job and others from the time before his studies in Helsinki. “I work most closely with the production crew. We get along very well. We have a relaxed attitude but still perform our tasks efficiently and professionally. That is what makes working there so enjoyable,” says Ossi.

Comfortable living in a modern city

Ossi tells us that although living in Lappeenranta is more peaceful than in metropolitan Helsinki, the city has become livelier in recent years, offering plenty of things to see and do. “Naturally, moving back to my home city was initially a shock - I had adapted to metropolitan life during those nine years. But I don’t regret my decision and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Ossi enthuses.

However, he does admit that there are more events and things to do in summer than in winter, but the contrast is not as big as it once was: “The events are also much more interesting than in the past, and there are plenty of free-time activities to choose from.”

Like most people from Lappeenranta, Ossi names Lake Saimaa as the heart of the city. He tells us that the biggest lake in Finland plays a big part in everyday life. “Saimaa is a beautiful setting, and I enjoy spending time on the shores or sailing on the lake.”

Text: Satu Peltola
Photo: Ville Vauhkonen