New year greetings from Bjølvefossen

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Christmas is in the rear view mirror, and things are starting to normalise after the holidays. I am halfway through my first period as a trainee, currently working in the technical department at Elkem Bjølvefossen. My autumn has been a myriad of exciting assignments, travelling, and courses, intermittently interrupted by jovial coffee breaks, workouts, and social happenings.

Picture description: Elkem Bjølvefossen, one of five Elkem Foundry plants, situated along the beautiful Hardanger fjord

This blog post was written by first year trainee Andrea

During October and November the trainees completed three basic courses in Project Management. With the newfound competence I was trusted with a project, where I am currently working with project planning and writing the investment application. I am also included in smaller projects and daily running of the technical department. My main project at Bjølvefossen however, relates to preventive maintenance. The aim is to anticipate when critical components have to be replaced based on production parameters rather than time intervals.

In mid-December, the trainees gathered in Kristiansand. The main purpose of the two-day gathering was to exchange experience and advice, and it was a welcome break from the pre-Christmas hassle. We met with Elkem’s HR Senior Vice President, Katja Lehland, and the Corporate Director of Elkem Technology, Håvard Moe. Both are exceptional people, brimming with experience and enthusiasm. Some of the Technology Directors also passed by to introduce themselves and inform about a few ongoing corporate projects.

Picture 2 All the trainees gathered outside the entrance to Elkem Technology Kristiansand. From the left: Marie, Espen, Heidi, Sofie, Marthe, Andrea and Bård

Krister Engvoll showed us the Pilot Plant at Fiskaa at the end of the first day. The second day ended in tours at Elkem Solar and Elkem Carbon Fiskaa, the former guided by second-year trainee Heidi and former trainee Lise; the latter guided by second-year trainee Marie and first-year trainee Sofie. Elkem tours are always interesting and informative, and all the guides impressed with their extensive knowledge.

Picture 3 Krister Engvoll given a guided tour of the Pilot Plant

The first evening in Kristiansand our trainee coordinator Rolf treated us all to an amazing dinner at Sjøhuset, one of the highest rated restaurants in Kristiansand. It was a superb evening with exquisite food, excellent company, and stimulating conversations. The second evening the trainees gathered at Sofie’s for traditional advent activities (sadly, Espen had to go back to Elkem Salten for work).

Picture 4 The trainees hard at work making gingerbread figures

Back at Bjølvefossen snow is falling; winter has finally arrived. Even though I have little experience with skiing, I look forward to testing some of the nearby slopes and cross-country skiing tracks. I am planning to enjoy my last months at Elkem Bjølvefossen; soon I have to decide where to go for my next trainee period. I believe 2017 will be an exciting year, and wish you all a happy New Year.