Kewatec Aluboat


Martti Vaahtoranta, 1.11.2020

It is good to be an employee representative at Kewatec, but the work could be even more demanding.

One does not become an employee representative by coincidence.

Petri Kattilakoski, who is a welder, has worked as the employee representative of the staff of Kewatec since the year 2012.

But what does an employee representative do? – Well, before he can do anything, he must gain the trust of the people whom he represents in relation to the employer. That is why not just anyone can be selected to work as an employee representative. One must be trustworthy.

The employee representative must be familiar with the work and know the workers

In order for an employee representative to do his job, he must understand the work done by people whom he represents. He must also gain the confidence of the employer and the members of the board, since the employee representative acts as a link between the employer and the workers, and the connection must work in both directions. That is why one should listen attentively to what the the employee representative says about the community, the employer and the work. It is based on broad knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the work and the workers.

Studying car mechanics and treatment of metals away from the sea

Petri Kattilakoski was born in 1980 in Kannus, Finland. Kannus is located quite inland, far from the coastline, and Petri’s choice for schooling did not suggest either that he would someday be working by the sea. After grade school, he acquired schooling in car mechanics and also completed basic studies on metal treatment.

Petri found his first job from within the metal industry from his hometown Kannus. Within two years of working there he got familiar with surface treatment of metals.

The welder makes his way towards shipyards and the big seas

Petri’s road did not, however, lead him from treatment of metal surfaces to car mechanics as one would have thought based on his educational background, but instead to welding and after that to elsewhere in the world. He spent four years by travelling and working as a welder all around Finland but also in shipyards in Norway.

Petri did not have any connections to the ocean or boats beforehand. It was quite of a leap he took coming from the inland coast of Lestijärvi -lake and from the thwart of his rowboat into building ships in Norway.

Settling into Lahdenperä

And Petri did not return to his hometown. He ended up in Kokkola already in his twenties.

Kokkola is a seaport-town. Although the water there is only slightly salty, it is still ocean water. And at the coast resides the industrial area of Landenperä.

That is the place where Petri eventually discovered himself after years of roaming around. The welding -company, Kokkolan Pikahitsaus Oy, where he worked for the total of 5 years is active also at the industrial park of Jänismaa (similar to Kewatec). It has an another branch at Lahdenperä and on top of all, right next to Kewatec’s dockyard. Kokkolan Pikahitsaus Oy does also work as a subcontractor for Kewatec.

From contract work to a permanent position

Needless to say Petri did not have to travel a long distance to get to the neighbouring company. At first, however, he did not have a secured position at Kewatec. His career at Kewatec started off as contract work through an agency.

“The workplace felt good. The work was wide-ranging and there was great freedom involved in doing it. The employees were heard and their personal matters were taken into account too. That included even family matters.”, says Petri, whose family includes a wife and three children.

“What was important to the workers was not unimportant to the board of Kewatec. The management style involved flexibility and positivity.” This is how the employee representative describes Kewatec as he was first acquainted with the company.

The contract work switched into a permanent position already years ago and Petri is now one of Kewatec’s long-term workers. Eventually he also became the official representative of the workers of Kewatec.

Growth and self-development as personal challenges

Petri played badminton when he was younger. Nowadays he spends more time in the gym or in fitness boxing.

Luckily his work does not involve any waving with fists or punching. Perhaps weightlifting does have its benefits on Petri’s ability to respond to challenges that have to do with the impact of Kewatec’s rapid and powerful company expansion on the work community. Or rather, Petri describes that this challenge affects him too:

“What I love about my job is that it involves independence. Mainly I work in the production of boat parts and because I get to work alone, I get to plan my work and how I do it. It is a little bit challenging for me to adjust to the company’s expansion and increase in personnel.”

Although diversity brings richness to life, Petri also sees it as a challenge to have to make acquaintances with the ever-increasing company personnel.

“And the nature of the job itself has changed too. Before I had more chances to be a part of the entire process of building a boat while performing diverse tasks from assembling to working to see the end-result of production. Currently my job is more unvaried, like being part of a ‘chain of production.’ It is not necessarily just nice all the time.”

Petri reflects upon whether there is still something to improve on the division of work between different company sectors, and whether the piecework -approach should be pushed further in the aluminum sector of the company. These are the thoughts of an expert on the field and the company’s employee representative.

Working at Kewatec?

But nevertheless and by all means Petri recommends Kewatec as a workplace for someone who is thinking about whether they would like to apply:

“The job is flexible, work-management is appropriate, the work environment is clean. It is worth applying for a job at Kewatec.”

As for himself, Petri hopes to have a chance to move forward in his job to new tasks. And going forward, that is indeed important not only for the entire company, but also for its employee representative!