A modern builder and a joyful supervisor
Employees of Kewatec are all unique individuals
We are all different. That’s what they say, and it applies to the staff of Kewatec too.
One can also hear it. The boatbuilders at Kewatec all have different native languages, ranging from Finnish to Swedish and even Dutch.
Perhaps “österbottniska” should be mentioned separately. It is a language that a person who has learned Swedish at school cannot make sense of, except for single words here and there.
Although the same can be said about some of the Finnish dialects that can be heard in the hallways and halls of Kewatec. At least one can tell if a speaker is not from the Central Ostrobothnia -region. Most of them probably are.
Different age groups collaborating
Workers are also of different ages. The age range of Kewatec’s employees is over thirty years. Some are almost old and some are still young - at least according to their older colleagues.
Although the group of older employees includes people whose years of service are shorter and who have been employed at Kewatec only for a couple of months. And vice versa, some of these workers whom older people perceive as young may have worked for Kewatec for many years already. And there are those people, who are now middle-aged and have already started to work with boats as young boys.
Different roads lead to the same employer
The employees’ background which has led to Kewatec varies too. Some of the employees have acquired schooling that has directly led them to have a career at Kewatec. For example, it is nearly impossible to get hired as a welder if one has not had enough practice and completed the tests required. Certificates are not given out easily, and without them, one is not permitted to weld together parts of a boat’s trunk at Kewatec.
There are also those employees at Kewatec who have a master’s degree or even higher education than that, and thus have a completely different education as opposed to what one would imagine being needed when working at an aluminum boat -dockyard. Equally, there are those skillful craftsmen who have learned to do their job by doing it in practice and acquiring schooling for it at the same time. And it can be true that they are, in some regard, the most competent people in a team.
Young, experienced, and skillful
Lucas Nyström belongs to the latter group of people. Being born in the year 1990, he is one of those people whom the older employees perceive as young, but he has still had a long career in the boating industry already.
Otherwise, Lucas would not have been selected to work at the position in which he currently is. Since the year 2018, he has worked as a supervisor.
Still, Lucas prefers to call himself by the title “self-studied boat builder”. “I was too lively to be at school and I did not finish high school. I moved to Las Palmas”, he tells me.
Talkative colleagues and the quiet ones
Well- we indeed forgot to mention one thing in which Kewatec’s employees differ like night and day: some of them are talkative and always enjoy chatting with colleagues whenever there is a chance. Sometimes even personal matters are shared, which is not typical at a male-dominated technology-centered workplace, nor because people work really hard at Kewatec and simply do not have time for long chats, especially outside coffee breaks. But then there are also those people, who speak very cautiously and think about what they say precisely.
Sometimes the sense of cautiousness is caused by bilingualism. One cannot crack jokes in one of the languages. Others have been blessed with the ability, but not everyone, especially those who speak Finnish as their native language. Those whose mother tongue is Swedish can usually speak Finnish better than they believe, so in other words, really well.
But it has got to do with personality and state of mind also. Some of us are more spontaneous than others and seek contact eagerly. And both traits are of course allowed.
Joy provided by the network of people and challenges of the work
Lucas belongs to the latter group of people. When he is asked about what he likes in his job, the answer speaks for itself: “I like people, I like helping them. It is fun when we can collectively seek solutions to problems and when I get to associate with my colleagues, whom all have different personalities. And there are many of them.”
That “liveliness”, which, according to Lucas made him terminate his studies, brings joy and a good atmosphere to the work community, of which he has been a key figure even without having a direct education to his current job. And in that he is excellent. “I can enjoy work even when a deadline is approaching and it seems like nothing is working out. When I make an effort and the boat is finished on time, after all, it brings me such a good mood!”. This is what Lucas describes the supervisor’s job to be like, at the most challenging- and the best of times.
A life-long education into becoming a boat-builder
But although Lucas has not gone to any business and administration school nor acquired any certificates, a thorough education into the world of boats began already at a young age. Others with a similar career as him share this sentiment.
“I was probably two years old when I was signed up for a sailing course. I had my optimist dinghy which I competed with occasionally. When I was little, I had the privilege to be a part of boat trips lasting two to three months, from Kokkola to Helsinki and from there through Åland to Stockholm. First, we were sailing with Fingal 28 and later with Degerö 28.
Also, my grandparents have had a cottage by the sea on an island throughout my life. We have done all sorts of activities there, setting the fishing nets with my grandfather, going waterskiing and other things like that. At least I got familiar with Buster at that time.” And buster is still manufactured from aluminum nowadays.
Learning by doing for half a decade
This is how Lucas describes the road that eventually led him to Kewatec. Before that, he worked at the neighboring company Finnmaster for five years.
“I got familiar with mass production. Smaller boats were manufactured and so were the dockyard’s massive, exclusive products”, Lucas says and continues:
“I did maintenance work all around Finland. I was also involved when a production line was established, a line that manufactures different sized boats, depending on their size and the number of workers available, from 20 to 350 pcs per year.
The testing of boats was also included in my job description at Finnmaster, but less than at Kewatec. Practically I test all of the boats manufactured by the production line now.”
An offer that could not be declined
Well - at some point the changing workplace became a tempting choice. “I started to want a change of scenery. When the ownership base of Finnmaster changed in 2018 and the production manager Jouko Pesola offered me a position as a supervisor and a builder in the brand new branch, I could not decline that job offer.”
And Lucas has enjoyed being at Kewatec. “The bosses are great and colleagues are competent, what more could I ask for!”
There are many things to learn and develop still
Regardless, Lucas does not see his job as merely easy and entertaining either. “My downside is that I cannot weld and I am not good at metalwork. And manufacturing a boat that a customer precisely wants is also difficult. Sometimes I feel like it would be best if a customer would be there all the time, watching the manufacturing process, so I could always ask them anything whenever and so every detail would be precisely fine-tuned to the customer. It is not fun either when the products are not shipped on time and I do not receive the components that I need. Luckily the design -the department is there to support me.”
Lucas hopes to still develop himself as a boat builder. However, the manufacturing processes themselves also need to be developed. “There are deficiencies in the functionality of the storage unit. Luckily the situation is getting better.”
One has a say over one’s job
Overall Lucas is content about the fact that he has a chance to influence the working conditions and processes. “If it does not require too much and one can justify their suggestions, the changes are made. This is how I have experienced it always”, he says.
Lucas also gladly recommends Kewatec as a workplace. “We are quite comfortable here. If one does their job well, then most likely there are no complaints.”