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The expertise of professionals is a renewable energy source for Elenia

Published on 11.10.2022
Tampere University
Tampereen yliopistosta valmistuneita Eleniaan rekrytoituja henkilöitä ryhmäkuvassa.
Development engineer Mikko Kapanen from Safety Team became an intern at Elenia in 2017 and graduated from Tampere University in 2020. Aleksi Yläkangas, Process Coordinator for Fault Diagnostics, joined the company from the Master’s Programme in Electrical Engineering in 2020 and graduated this autumn. Ilona Mattila, Security Project Engineer, started in a summer job at Elenia in 2019, continued as an intern, and graduated from the Master of Science in Technology programme at Tampere University in summer 2021. Tommi Lumpo, currently studying at Tampere University, is doing an internship in the Control Centre and Jarkko Laitila, from TAMK’s International Business programme, is an intern in the Invoicing and Receivables Management team. Erno Paananen, who started in a summer job at Elenia in 2020, is currently working on his thesis for the company.
Elenia – Finland’s second largest electricity grid company – and multidisciplinary Tampere University are long-term partners tackling challenges related to our increasingly electrified life. This co-operation draws on the expertise of researchers, students, and Elenia’s own specialists. New knowledge and expertise for the benefit of an ever-changing society and the entire energy sector is gained and shared together.

“Already for a couple of decades, Tampere University of Technology, which is now known as Tampere University, has been a very important partner in our co-operation with educational institutions. This co-operation provides us with new and increasingly broad expertise, both for power engineering solutions and for the needs of our digitalising services,” says Elenia’s HR Director Marianne Kihlman.

Co-operation with students is at the heart of the company’s HR strategy. Students first get to know Elenia through co-operation with students’ guilds and guest lectures. This helps Elenia to identify potential employees, and often the first summer internship is the first opportunity for a student to get a job. Potential future employees are identified at the early stages of the summer internships. A good intern will return to the company in the following summers, work hourly during winter while studying, and eventually work on their thesis in co-operation with the company.

“At the same time, they will become Elenians, who in turn will act as our brand and industry ambassadors and knowledge builders on campus,” Kihlman says.

Theses are part of operational development

“Theses are an important part of Elenia’s operation development activities. Each year, several theses are authored for the company’s purposes with students at Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Finnish Energy (ET) awards theses made in Tampere every year, which shows that the topics interest the entire industry,” Kihlman says.

Over the past decade, the company has commissioned about a tenth of all electrical engineering theses in Tampere.

“The number of theses is indeed astonishingly high. This is another example of Elenia’s pioneering and development-oriented approach,” says Professor of Electrical Power Engineering Pekka Verho.

Students have a thesis supervisor from both the University and Elenia.

 “The supervision process works very well with Elenia. It also gives supervisors a convenient way to keep up with the developments in the field and get to the latest knowledge,” Verho adds.

From former place of study to future research partner

Jorma Myllymäki, Executive Vice President  at Elenia’s Network Business, also embarked on his career path with a thesis. He graduated as a Master of Science (Technology) from Hervanta campus in 1993 in a recession-riddled Finland.

“However, I managed to get a graduate job at ABB in Vaasa and the rest is history. I transferred from ABB to Elenia in 2007. My studies were an excellent springboard for my career,” Myllymäki says.

Based on his experiences, Myllymäki understands the importance of student co-operation in building an employer image and opening potential career paths. During his studies, he chaired the association for electrical power engineering students at Tampere University of Technology for some two years.

“In this role, I really got to know my fellow students, professors, and researchers. We made many memorable excursions to different companies in the electricity and energy sector with the association. The contacts I made then still exist today. I am now colleague with many of them and we co-operate in research and development in the field.”

Myllymäki values his former place of study as a current research partner, with which he is already looking far into a sustainable and secure future. To enable this, Elenia’s specialists and Tampere University’s professors, researchers and students are working on common research themes. These include, among other things, smart grids, improving the security of the electricity supply, electricity distribution automation, the management of distributed renewable production and cyber security. 

Much of the co-operation is carried out in research and development projects funded and coordinated by the energy industry’s joint Electricity Research Pool. Other forms of research co-operation include commissioned research and projects co-funded with Business Finland.

“Extensive co-operation and interdisciplinarity are needed in both teaching and research. Elenia and Tampere University have a long history of co-operation in research and development projects that are related to electricity grids and the distribution network business. Our co-operation provides an excellent opportunity for accelerating the green transition,” Myllymäki says.

Many forms of co-operation

Elenia donated €50.000 to Tampere University in the fund-raising campaign that ended in June 2022. Donations are one form of co-operation, making them an important support for the University’s research and education.

There are many different opportunities and forms of co-operation between the University and businesses, regardless of the size or sector of the organisation.

Take a look at what we have to offer and contact our specialists!

Read more about donating.

Text: Marjut Kemiläinen
Photo: Elenia