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Powering up Boliden: Meet the Dynamic Duo of High Voltage

At Boliden Aitik's High Voltage Electrical Department, the electrifying task of providing power to the entire mine site is a daily reality. This immense responsibility falls to a team of 16 electricians, of which Mathilda and Kajsa-Stina are the only women, and they thrive in their roles. "No two days are the same here - and we work with a great team," they say.

Both Mathilda Andrieu and Kajsa-Stina Olofsson were born and raised in Gällivare, and both followed the Boliden specialisation within the electricity and energy program at Lapplands Gymnasium. This cross-program track selects students from different programs based on merit points. For Mathilda, the choice of specialization seemed natural. Her entire immediate family works at, or is connected to, Boliden, and she has even had summer jobs at the mine. For Kajsa-Stina, however, it was new territory. 
"I found electricity interesting, but I didn't really know what I was getting into," she says. "Primarily, I wanted to try something new, something different from the path many others were taking." 

For both young women, their choice seems to have been a slam dunk. Their enthusiasm is palpable as they describe their work. 
"Sure, we have clear frameworks and routines and know what's expected of us, but the days are varied. We often call ourselves the 'electrical emergency team' because we rush out to wherever we're needed when it's urgent. And it usually is – everyone wants production to keep running." 
"The work can be tricky sometimes; you have to be a problem solver," says Mathilda. The Aitik area is huge, and we go wherever we're needed. Many days involve a lot of driving, and we even have to work when it's 40 degrees below zero. But it's incredibly varied, it's nice to be outdoors a lot in the fresh air, and we always work in teams.” 

Teamwork: The Cornerstone of Good Work

Their camaraderie is undeniable. It's a necessity in this work environment, and it also seems to make their working days so much more enjoyable. 
"We finish each other's sentences, as we often think alike," laughs Kajsa-Stina. 
Jokes aside, teamwork is paramount. Both Mathilda and Kajsa-Stina are also health and safety representatives, and safety awareness is high at both the individual and departmental levels. 
"We have zero tolerance for working alone in the electrical department. Two heads are better than one, and that's essential when it comes to electrical work. We help each other with both manual work, such as lifting, and problem-solving. This reduces the risk of accidents, and safety thinking is so ingrained here that it's rare that anything happens. And if, against all odds, something should happen, it's safer to be two."


Shift Work Provides Quality of Life – and Time in Nature

Both women were offered jobs at Boliden before they even graduated from high school. Now they work shifts that mean they have every third week off. Mathilda is a figure skating coach and enjoys knitting in her spare time. Kajsa-Stina rides snowmobiles, spends a lot of time with family, and loves to travel. Both of them spend a lot of time outdoors. Both seem to appreciate having a job that allows them to stay in their hometown, as well as the opportunity to develop and specialize in their profession without necessarily having to change location and employer. 
"The job is not what I thought it would be – it's much more educational and varied. We work with big machines, get to drive both tractors and trucks, work with high voltage, wrestle with cables, and solve problems," says Kajsa-Stina. 

It's clear that they enjoy their work – and it's also evident that they are dedicated and competent. However, there's no getting around the question of what it's like to be young women in a male-dominated industry. For these two, it doesn't seem to cause any problems; quite the contrary. 
"Many outsiders think it's cool: 'Gosh, you work with that?' Of course, we've become used to it ourselves, and we've never felt like outsiders in the team. The comments we get are positive; many people think it improves the atmosphere when there are girls in the group," says Mathilda. 


"Seize the Opportunities"

Do they recommend that others follow their path? Absolutely – and the duo has a clear message: 
"Seize the opportunities that are available. Show interest, apply for summer jobs, make connections. The Boliden education specialisation offers great opportunities to get your foot in the door, even though ultimately it's your attitude that will determine whether you are offered a job. But to be able to get a lot of the benefits of employment while you're still in high school, in an industry where there's a real need for workers, it’s a truly fantastic opportunity," concludes Kajsa-Stina. 
In the case of this duo, the result seems to be the right team in the right place - in an exciting job with a bright future.


Boliden Head Office

Boliden Group
Klarabergsviadukten 90
P.O. Box 44, SE-101 20 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8 610 15 00
Fax: + 46 8 654 80 90