Elisabeth Packalén – Trainee for Future of Manufacturing in Europe (FOME) project

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My name is Elisabeth and I am from Finland. I have completed a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration from Aalto University, majoring in Economics. I started working as a trainee at Eurofound in June 2017, after completing all courses for my master’s degree. So right now the only thing standing between me and graduation is my master’s thesis – which I am writing while simultaneously working here.

I came across Eurofound in a career networking group on Facebook. I had no prior knowledge of Eurofound but decided to apply because the research project – Future of manufacturing in Europe (FOME) – concentrated on topics I had recently developed a strong interest in. The FOME project studies the impact of technological progress on labour market related factors like job content, skills and wages. It has various subprojects in for example how 'game-changing technologies' like industrial internet of things or additive manufacturing are changing employment, and also on born global companies. In Finland I have been volunteering in various high technology-focused events such as Slush, so a traineeship where I could combine my educational background, interest in research and curiosity for technology was ideal. The 'employment' aspect has also grown on me and I decided to refocus my master’s thesis in that direction as well.

As a trainee, I have had the privilege to contribute not only to research projects but also assist my direct supervisor to keep the project running. Since I have prior work experience in administration and event organisation, I have been responsible for a significant part of the Future of manufacturing project’s administrative tasks. For instance, I have processed invoices, established a publication workflow process with help from our IC section and helped my supervisor to prepare content, such as Powerpoint presentations, for different meetings. I believe that learning about how the administrative side of the Union works will be important for my future career so I have been excited about the tasks I have been given. Furthermore, I am also involved in research. I have evaluated case studies and overview reports written by our contractors on key jobs in European manufacturing and on apprenticeship programmes in Europe. I have also assisted with preparation and writing of literature reviews. For example, I researched internationalisation support instruments the European Union provides for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs for a literature review about born global firms. For the second part of my internship, I will be concentrating more on assisting in research.

Eurofound has been an extremely supporting, welcoming and rewarding place to work at and I can highly recommend it to anybody interested in gaining practical research skills and experience on how a European Union institution operates. Not only have I been able to develop my skills as an aspiring researcher, but I have developed my language and overall communication skills as well. There are many different units to choose from, so I am sure you will be able to find a perfect traineeship for yourself. In addition, Dublin is a welcoming city, despite being rather expensive. The natural environment and people here are great so you will have many possibilities to relax after work! 

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