Jimmy Eriksson, Process Operator

Jimmy Eriksson began working at Vallvik Mill in 2018. He joined the company via the on-the-job training course for process operators that was organised in partnership with Hälsingland Education Association

What was it that attracted you to the training course and the profession?
– I was recommended to apply for the course by someone I knew who’d started working here. In addition, I already knew a bit about it as I’m from Norrsundet just outside Gävle, where there used to be a pulp mill.

– I’d heard that the job could be difficult, dirty and dangerous, and that a lot of people find working shifts challenging. However, I can handle flexible working hours and I enjoy tough challenges. I’m also interested in all aspects of the process at the factory. Another thing I find attractive is the idea of never being fully trained, I love to learn new things every day.

What’s it like to work as a process operator?
– For me, it’s the perfect job. You can’t learn what it means to be an operator from a manual, it’s a broad, demanding profession with all kinds of new challenges almost every day. But there are experienced operators here we can ask for advice, which is really great. It’s also a plus to have several days off in a row.

Tell us about what you do in your operator area, OP5?
– We usually divide the factory into a fibre line and a recycling line, and OP5 belongs to the latter. In broad terms, we recycle water, steam and electricity so we can use them in the factory again. For example, the steam from the recovery boiler and the bark boiler are channelled to a turbine where we generate our own electricity. If everything goes according to plan, we should be completely self-sufficient in electricity. In 2020, we generated fully 83% of the electricity used at the mill.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
– I’d still like to be working here – and to be able to do pretty much everything myself. I’m fascinated by every link of the chain: how the material from the forest becomes something we can write on, make into floors or clothes, and use to put coffee in. It’s so cool that we can make so many different things out of a tree. I also enjoy the fact that we’re like a football team here; we all have to pull together, there’s a whole chain that has to work seamlessly with a team captain leading us towards the appropriate goals.