Therese went from degree placement to development engineer
After university, Therese Pettersson’s aim was to combine her knowledge of biology with a production-related job. A fellow student recommended Therese apply to Billerud for a degree project placement, which led to employment as a Development Engineer at Billerud’s Skärblacka paper mill outside Norrköping.
My first impression was that I felt really welcomed. My second impression was of how much effort the company puts into sustainable production and environmental work. I may be a bit biased, as the environment is covered by the department where I now work, but this was something that struck me even during my degree project. The third thing I realised was that this is a company of the future. Despite its long history, Billerud doesn’t stand still. We focus a lot on future developments and it’s great to be part of a company that’s making such significant investments in the future.
Describe your degree project at Billerud.
My degree project involved trying to develop sheets of paper in a lab that replicated the paper produced by Skärblacka’s Paper Machine 9. That means the same fibre orientation, tensile strength, elongation and Gurley rating. This resulted in me developing a new process for how sheets of paper are made in the lab. It’s a process that our Research & Development department can use in developing new products.
What sort of things have you learnt at Billerud?
The thing I learnt most about was being an expert in something for the first time, the person who knows most about something. At university we had projects where the lecturers always knew more. In my degree placement, I was the one who knew the most and it was good to learn how to explain things at lots of different levels of knowledge.
What happened after the degree project?
After the degree project I was offered a position as Development Engineer at Skärblacka Mill outside Norrköping. I work with process development and the environment and I’ve now really got the kind of job I was after. Working on development for production suits me down to the ground.
Do you have any advice for other students who will soon be doing degree placements?
One piece of advice is not to just consider those companies you’re familiar with, don’t limit yourself. Applying to Billerud wasn’t my initial thought, it was by coincidence. Now I’m happy I applied here as the paper industry is more interesting than I could have imagined and the job I have now is what I was hoping for when I was studying.
Name: Therese Pettersson
Education: BSc in Biological Engineering
University: Linköping University, graduated in 2016