Navigating Through First Work Experience

Jan 24, 2024

Starting your professional journey and entering your first job can be both exciting and challenging time. Good orientation, supportive team, willingness to learn more, and the possibility to practice skills are some of the key factors that can contribute to a successful experience.

Getting out of the comfort zone

Meet Sara Bastos, the most recent addition to the Valmet quality team in Ovar, Portugal. Sara finished her master's degree in chemical engineering in July 2023, and while looking for job opportunities, she crossed over to our SEMEA Trainee Program on LinkedIn. After reading about it and seeing stories from other trainees, she thought it would be a good opportunity to grow into the work world and decided to apply.  

“My name is Sara and I joined Valmet’s SEMEA Trainee Program in August. I am working as a Quality Engineer Trainee. Starting this journey, all I wanted was to push myself, learn as much as I could and get out of the comfort zone that I built for five years in university. 

From the beginning, my team made me feel very welcome. They gave me a thorough introduction to what the quality team is expected to be and to do. My tasks as a trainee involve sections and product quality, in addition to supporting and helping my colleagues. So far, I think I am doing a fantastic job and I hope it only gets better!  


Sara Bastos, Quality Engineer Trainee in Ovar, Portugal

Sara Bastos, Quality Engineer Trainee at Valmet in Ovar, Portugal.

Highlights of the trainee journey 

“There are various good things that I could point out about this trainee program. Besides gaining experience and getting used to the work routine, learning from such experienced and knowledgeable people has been one of the best parts. Having other trainees in the same program here in Ovar gave me the “You are not alone” -feeling, which is important when starting something new. 

Working at Valmet has given me the opportunity to develop many skills such as working in a group, expressing and communicating my point of view and working with some new tools like SAP and others. The biggest challenge so far has been acknowledging and assimilating all the information from the past six months, and putting it to practice, which I think is part of the process of a first work experience. This matter is getting better and better all the time, thanks to my team.” 

Who would you recommend Valmet’s SEMEA Trainee Program for? 

“This trainee program is ideal for those who have recently finished university. Finding a job after completing a degree can be hard but with this trainee program, recent graduates get the opportunity to develop soft and professional skills by believing in their potential. 

No matter what happens in the future I will be, without a doubt, a better engineer after Valmet and the people that have crossed my path!” 


Read also: Crafting the future in Mechanical Engineering