Published: April 11, 2023

The winners of Tapojärvi’s 2022 skills competition have returned from their prize trip to Málaga, Spain. The travellers from the north enjoyed the warm weather as the temperature rose to around 30 °C at the end of March, although the water was still too chilly for swimming.

In August 2022, Pirita Pakanen, Harri Paananen, Juuso Koskela, Jari Tikkala and Konsta Ollikainen won the Tapojärvi skills competition in their respective categories. The winners were awarded a work trip to Málaga, including a visit to Caterpillar’s Demonstration and Learning Center, the automobile museum and other sights in Málaga.

The group enjoyed having steak dinners and lodged in Torremolinos. Tapojärvi’s Business Unit Manager of Mining Services, Vesa-Matti Leiviskä, and Chief Administration Officer, Janne Alatalo, acted as the hosts of the trip.

For the winner of the truck competition, Pirita Pakanen, the trip was her first trip abroad.

‘The best things about the trip were visiting the Demonstration Center, being with our group and the atmosphere. I was considered one of the guys, just like at work. The trip was an unforgettable experience. It was always warm, and I wasn’t prepared for the climate’, Pirita says.

The other travellers also praised the impressive and surprisingly large Demonstration Center.

‘It’s not something you would have a chance to visit on your own. There were people from all over the world, even from Colombia. The machine demonstrations and new things were surprising. The equipment was just so big that it couldn’t be used at Elijärvi,’ says Juuso Koskela, the winner of the excavator category.

‘Technology is evolving so rapidly, especially the remote control of equipment. It would be fun to test some of the things in a tunnel,’ Pakanen adds.

Another Tikkala brother won the competition

A few years ago, Janne Tikkala won the wheel loader competition. This year, it wasn’t Janne who was the winner but his little brother, Jari Tikkala.

Jari says the brothers don’t really compete with each other when it comes to their professional skills.

‘It’s nice to work in a large company. It means that more employees have an opportunity to go on the trip and also makes the competition more challenging. I wish more people would participate in the skills competition and the different categories. It would make winning even more of a challenge.

Jari Tikkala also participated in the competition in 2019 but did not reach first place.

‘The competition last autumn was even more difficult because we had preliminaries and a final. It created pressure as you had to succeed more than once, but it was a good thing. There has to be a challenge when you are using your skills to compete.

The group tried to find the winner of winners at the go-kart track

The trip to Málaga also included free time, during which the group headed to the go-kart track to find out who would be the winner of winners.

‘The line was too long for us, but go-karting should definitely be included in the next trip’s programme,’ Koskela says.

‘And company shirts and caps for everyone. It would have been fun to promote the company, especially in the Demonstration Centre,’ Tikkala says.

A challenge to all employees

The winners of the Málaga trip all agree that every Tapojärvi employee should participate in the skills competition. They say you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself or feel too nervous about performing well. For instance, the winners of the 2019 competition did not win again.

‘Perhaps we are shoo-ins to win again, and naturally, it would be nice to win to show that it wasn’t all luck,’ Pakanen says, laughing.

Konsta Ollikainen will compete again in the next skills competition in the same categories as last autumn. He is not going to put any pressure on himself and sends his greetings to everyone:

‘The others should prepare for the fact that they still won’t get to go on the next trip,’ Ollikainen says.

The winners of the third skills competition are yet to be determined.

‘When the competition is held again, everyone should register for it. The skills competition is fun, and the prize trip was great,’ says Koskela.