From Slovakia to China, Saudi Arabia to Mexico, through Israel and all over Finland. These are some of the many places where his work has taken Jarkko Anttonen. Anttonen is one of the welding instructors in the Welding Services team at Kemppi. They’re based in the Application Training Center at the Kemppi headquarters in Lahti, Finland. But as you can see, Anttonen’s list of travel destinations is long. You could say that a welding instructors’ actual workplace is basically the whole world.
The ever-changing work environment suits him well. Anttonen had worked for 10 employers before joining Kemppi three years ago and has no plans on changing the present.
“At my previous job, I got bored welding pipes all day long. I needed to get on the road because that was something I was used to since I was a student.”
And his work really takes him to memorable places.
“Welding is very different in other countries, compared to Finland. I’ve been at a shipyard the size of a small city in Mexico, and a huge worksite in the middle of a desert in the Middle East.”
The many roles of welding instructors
Anttonen’s job description doesn’t even begin to describe what a welding instructor’s role really involves. He tackles customers’ problems daily – either via email or in person. He guides the people visiting Kemppi, mostly professionals, but sometimes even schoolkids or the elderly. He helps the R&D department to make better products by bringing his practical knowledge to the project.
“One time we were testing the handle of a welding gun and realized that it could be much better. We, the welding instructors, came to the conclusion of what needed to be fixed and the R&D department modified the design. Our opinions really matter here.”
And in the middle of all this, he is also involved in the recruitment process of new welding instructors, and he has a say on who he works with. Sometimes he even models for Kemppi marketing materials. It’s the variety that keeps him excited.
Doing the right things with the right people
For Anttonen, his job is all about learning new things.
He is a motorcycle enthusiast, so his work experience has been a great advantage in his free time, too. Anttonen learns new techniques all the time and uses them in his own garage on his motorcycle. And of course, he can lend a helping hand for his motorcyclist friends when they have a tricky welding project. The latest step in his career development has been the International Welding Specialist (IWS) certificate – a target that his superior, Reetta Verho, encouraged him to go for.
It seems like you have to be a superhero to be a welding instructor?
“You need to have the patience of a saint and a lot of knowledge; the customers’ questions can be really tricky sometimes. But that’s about it, otherwise, all of us welding instructors are allowed to be just like we are.”
“And we have a great group. Which is the most important thing,” he adds.