Konsta’s story: You never know when an internship will lead to a permanent job
My name is Konsta, and I work as third officer on a product tanker.
After upper secondary school I was living in my birth town in Kokkola, Finland, and I had no idea what I would like to do or study. I had been in a contractual fire brigade since I was a kid, so I was interested in the rescue service sector. I applied to Emergency Services Academy Finland, but didn’t get in on my first try. After a while, I started to doubt whether it was the right choice for me after all.
I decided to take a gap year, which then turned into two. I worked in different fields and workplaces, such as a sawmill and a painting company. I noticed that I was quick at learning new tasks and that working life seemed to suit me better than studying. I gained valuable experience and had time to think about what I wanted to do when I grew up.
When I had completed my military service, a friend suggested moving to Rauma to work for the same painting company they were working for. While doing some research on Rauma as a place to live, I came across the Rauma Maritime Training Centre. They were offering a bachelor’s degree programme for future sea captains. It seemed interesting, so after giving it some thought I decided to apply. I was accepted and began my studies the following autumn.
During the first semester, the studies included a lot of theory. My first internship started after five months of studies. I ended up on a ship called M/V Wasa Express operating the route between Vaasa and Umeå. After the internship, I continued my studies with enthusiasm and quickly made good progress.
During my third year in Rauma, I completed an internship on the M/T Stena Arctica tanker. Half of the crew members were Filipino and half were Finnish. Studying was no longer taking up all my time, so I decided to send a job application to OSM Ship Management Finland Oy. It was the same company that was responsible for staffing M/T Stena Arctica. I quickly got a job on M/T Kiisla, and I signed a permanent employment contract the same spring.
Working in shipping enables long holidays
In my current job at OSM Ship Management Finland Oy, I work as third officer. When we’re at sea, I stand in for the ship’s master on the bridge. This includes tasks such as navigating, determining the position of the vessel and manoeuvring the vessel. M/T Kiisla operates on the Baltic Sea. The ports that we visit most often are in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. When the ship is in port, I follow the unloading or loading plan drawn up by the first officer. At the moment, each rotation lasts about five weeks. This means that I work for five weeks and then have five weeks off.
The greatest challenge in working on a ship is getting along with other people, as we spend long periods of time in a confined space away from home. For me, this has never been a big problem because I get along well with all kinds of people and rarely lose my temper.
Although I like my work on the ship very much, long holidays are definitely one of the perks of working in shipping. I love travelling and seeing new countries in my free time and have actually moved to Costa del Sol in Spain, at least for the time being. Sport has always been close to my heart, especially going to the gym and playing ball games. It’s rarely possible to play tennis or other ball games at sea, but it’s easy to find the time for going to the gym and working out. I also enjoy reading books and developing my mental well-being at sea.
As a tip for working life, I would recommend trying different fields with an open mind and completing your internships with care. You never know when it will lead to a permanent job.