At the leading global hygiene and health company Essity, the drive for innovation is strong and the expansive product portfolio – that includes everything from Libero baby diapers and Libresse feminine products to Tork paper hand towels and dispensers – is in constant development. Lab engineers have a key role in innovation projects, and it is in this stimulating environment that Chandrika Uppalapati is now participating in a four-month long internship programme within the scope of Jobbsprånget.

 Q: Why did you choose to apply to Jobbsprånget?

My husband and I moved from India to Sweden two years ago, and it proved more difficult than I thought to become established in the Swedish labor market. Before moving, I worked as a software engineer for a small company in India. Jobbsprånget was suggested to me by a friend and the internship program felt like a possibility for me to show my potential. 

 Q: What do your workdays look like?

They vary a lot. My colleagues and I work close to the innovation team and are involved with developing new functions for the products. We test everything from dispenser hinges to the strength and thickness of different paper. Sometimes, we know exactly how to measure, but on other occasions we need to develop a method of measuring. I am currently devoting a lot of time to a project in which I chart the various strains that our products are exposed to during transportation to our warehouses. Paper bales and dispensers are stacked on pallets and transported from our plants by road or sea. By placing sensors on the pallets, we are able to measure such aspects as vibrations, humidity and temperature. The aim is for us to be even better at packing and protecting the goods during transportation. 

 Q: How are you enjoying your time at Essity?

“It’s really great! My colleagues are pleasant and supportive. If there is anything that I do not understand, it is easy to get help. Both my mentor and my manager are very supportive in my development, and we have discussions on such topics as how I can develop my skills. I have also been offered to take a course in intercultural management and been introduced to a network within the company. Essity has highly diverse operations and has employees in over 60 countries. English is the working language, but on coffee and lunch breaks I take the opportunity to speak Swedish with my colleagues. This is a great supplement to my Swedish for immigrants (SFI) studies.

 Q: Are there differences between working life in India and Sweden?

My experience is that it is less hierarchical in Sweden and also easier to combine a career with a family life. In India, childcare is not as developed. 

 Q: How do you feel about the future?

I feel positive. The internship at Essity is providing me with new experiences, a better understanding of Swedish work culture and the opportunity of taking the next step in my career. 

 Fact box:

Title: Placement as a lab engineer.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Chebrolu Engineering College, affiliated to Jawaharlal Technological University, Kakinada, India.

Interests: Art and handicrafts, makes her own jewelry.

 About Jobbsprånget

Jobbsprånget, which is run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), is a national placement program that offers academics who are new to Sweden – engineers, architects, scientists and economists – a four-month internship programme. The aim of the program is to make the most of the participant’s expertise and speed up their introduction to the Swedish labor market. 

 Read more about Jobbsprånget and apply here: