A future in the forest industry

“Meaningful and diverse work with bio-based products, fuels or biomass. If that would also include a chance for international tasks, it’d be my dream job,” says student Minna Ukkonen, summing up her career hopes.

Minna Ukkonen says that she hasn’t regretted her choice to study chemical, bio and material engineering at Aalto University for so much as a second.

She majors in Industrial Energy Processes and Sustainability, which combines forest industry and bioproducts particularly from the perspective of energy ad the environment.

According to Ukkonen, she was told in advance that engineers had a rather good outlook in terms of the job market and that the level of wages was reasonable as well. Decisive in her choice of studies, however, was the need to come up with solutions for major global challenges, such as climate change mitigation, the sufficiency of natural resources and sustainable development.

“I’m fascinated by the way in which fossil fuels could be replaced with biomass, for example. It could make a difference in combatting climate change.”

The field is diversifying

Ukkonen is in the fourth year of her studies. During those four years, she has gained more faith in the future thanks to the big investments made by the forest industry.

“The fieldis diversifying, and it’s great to see a traditional industry creating something new all the time. It provides opportunities for professionals in many other fields besides traditional wood processing.”

Ukkonen thinks that people should try to shake off old impressions and understand that the forest industry has changed.

“Forests offer one of the most important raw materials in Finland. This gives us a good opportunity to do something significant for the climate and sustainability. The possibilities with regard to lignin, for example, are virtually limitless.”

Text Sami Laakso
Photo Jari Härkönen

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