Wellbeing at work in a research organisation as a summer job

Blog post

Our summer trainees’ blog collects the experiences of our young employees of working at VTT. The first blog post is written by trainee Ellariina Rautio in our Wellbeing team

“Sorry, but what’s a VTT?” Only a year ago this acronym didn’t mean anything to me. My first contact with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland was through its people. At the SuomiAreena public debate forum held in the summer of 2018, I met fascinating people who were very clearly excited about their work at VTT. The second time was when I heard a talk by a visionary from VTT researching the food of the future at a conference. Her performance and passion for her research area made a deep impression on me.

When I was looking for a summer job in early 2019, I came across an interesting job advertisement that combined my interests, communications and wellbeing at work. It seemed progressive for an organisation to have a Wellbeing team.

The traineeship was also a part of the mentoring programme of the Suomen Mentorit organisation, and I thought that this would be an additional benefit. This meant that I’d found the perfect summer traineeship. I was lucky enough to be selected from the applicants, and I became an HR trainee in the Wellbeing team with duties in communications and marketing.

Enthusiasm and a burning desire to change the world

As a student of communications and interaction with previous knowledge of corporate communications, the leap to a technological research organisation felt like an exciting plunge into a new world. Already at the first meeting, I noticed that research scientists are a special kind of group of intelligent and determined people. I have also learned to appreciate the critical and meticulous approach characteristic of research scientists.

I have had the chance to observe research scientists at close range in a boxing ring, church boat, swimming pool and floorball rink, that is, through the sports clubs of VTT. I have also met experts in interesting research areas at the relaxed afterwork events of VTT Young Professionals, and my preconceived ideas about reserved research scientists have largely fallen apart.

It has been stirring and inspiring to see the passion and fire that research scientist put into their work to solve the greatest challenges of our time. I have had the chance to be amazed by the innovations of VTT’s genius inventors that constantly surpass each other, like a headset made out of mushrooms and cobwebs, synthetic leather made out of mycelium, an evening gown made out of wood, biodegradable packaging materials, “pulled fish” made out of Baltic herring, and many other wonderful things. For example, I once ran into a wall painting robot when coming back from lunch.

Room for creativity and encouragement to make ideas reality

It’s been amazing to be a part of this special community and participate in encouraging people and supporting the recovery and wellbeing at work of research scientists. I have planned wellbeing at work campaigns and their communications and organised various events and services from Firstbeat measurements to walking fitness tests and exercise at the park.

During my traineeship, I have had the chance to learn about a broad range of other parts of HR work, such as participating in the work of the recruitment, competence development and international mobility teams. I have also had the chance to help build VTT’s image as an employer by designing content for the new website, and I have organised and implemented social media campaigns and written articles on VTT’s website. In fact, the best part of my work at VTT is the diversity of tasks and the chance to be creative that the work offers. VTT gives you space to invent new ideas and encourages you to implement them. It’s also great that I can proudly tell people about the important work that we do beyond the obvious.

The author is completing her master’s degree in communications at the University of Tampere. She works as an HR trainee in the Wellbeing team at VTT.

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