Drill rig mechanic Pekka Väisänen

The variance of working in a mine is intriguing: ”You constantly learn as you go”

Drill rig mechanic Pekka Väisänen finds many good things of his work in the Terrafame mine, in addition to the days being varied, his colleagues and the spirit at work receive praise from him.

Pekka Väisänen works at Hartikainen in the Terrafame mine as a drill rig mechanic. He applied for the job a year ago and he's been enjoying himself since. ”For 17 years I was a forest harvester operator, I worked also outside of Finland in Central Europe, I saw a lot during that time, still I had a feeling that I wanted something different,” explains Pekka of his journey on becoming a mechanic at Hartikainen.

A forest harvester gets to do plenty of independent mechanic work because they operate alone in the woods. ”I can utilize my experience from that also in this job, especially because the more experienced mechanics introduce you to the secrets of the job,” compliments Pekka.

His interest in becoming a mechanic arose from relatives and his hobbies. Nowadays Pekka is still tinkering with his own machines, except in the autumn while he spends his time hunting.

Pekka elaborates that he's been enjoying himself working in a new field at Hartikainen. ”Compared to forestry, it's very nice to have other people around in the workplace. And the group spirit is high. Regular breaks make the day more agreeable and the day's work goes by fast.


The rhythm of work and his colleagues both receive praise from Pekka, ”I enjoy myself here, this is a good workplace.”


”Another thing is the surroundings that are in order here at Terrafame. They truly have invested in the work conditions and break rooms. It's really important that you get a break from work at times and can discuss something totally different with your colleagues” reports Pekka of the everyday work at a mine.”

The Finnish winter and conditions are challenging for work at times. But they are overcome with careful planning. ”In a fieldwork setting, it's sometimes cold outside and you have to think about what to wear and carefully plan the day's work in advance, and not leave it to the subzero temperatures. Luckily the indoors are warm, and what's positive is that you get to spend time outside during the workday”, describes Pekka the challenges of the work.

In Pekka's opinion, there are lots of positives, and he encourages young people and career changers to join the field. ”You only need some previous experience with handling machines, and most certainly you will get by here. Attitude is key when working with such big machines and tools. Patience and taking the initiative are required, it takes its time to learn, but in the end, all the learning and doing is highly rewarding.”

At Hartikainen, the orientation is done by skilled mechanics, and machine manufacturers also organize training sessions. ”You have to educate yourself all the time because the machines are becoming more automated and we still need to know how to repair them. This brings variation and keeps up the interest in the work. The more the machines use IT, the more troubleshooting the work entails, and the more successful you feel when you get things fixed,” reveals Pekka of the everyday work life of a mechanic nowadays.

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The job is not the same it was say ten years ago. There are a lot more tools at hand, and heavy nuts, for example, are not turned manually anymore. Yet the work keeps you in shape, ”In here you get much more exercise without noticing than in my previous work. When I move around evenly during the workday, I've noticed that I have more strength during my free time also. While carrying heavy tools, you also get great exercise almost unnoticed at times” Pekka laughs.

Pekka says he enjoys working at Hartikainen. Colleagues are experienced and nice. Additionally, the versatile and wide-ranging job is intriguing. Even the work schedule doesn't faze Pekka, ”To me, it was an enticing notion even, that the work is done in 4-day periods and then you're off for another four days. There's not really sufficient time to do anything during a regular weekend, now I can plan the long weekends and my free time better when I know the upcoming free weekends beforehand.”

Pekka encourages everyone to apply for a job at Hartikainen, ”This is a really cool place to work. There's always work to be done if you only are willing to do that. And you get to learn more constantly.


Text by:   Sanna Valkeejärvi 
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