From plumber to project manager

Jenni Lehto’s career story as a project manager at Calto Tampere is not the most conventional. Already the start was a quick one. Jenni completed a double degree and graduated as a pipe fitter in spring 2015, at the same time as she started her matriculation.

– A few friends were studying plumbing and I got the idea from that. I’ve always been interested in engineering. In the joint application, in addition to the three technical options, I had to choose one more “traditional” field of study, so I ticked cosmetology. Luckily, I didn’t end up there, says Jenni, who found her field in building services engineering.

Work and study – and a bit more study

After graduation, Jenni started as a fitter at Calto in Tampere in autumn 2015. Building services engineering seemed like the right choice from the start and the work went well, but she was still motivated to study further.

– While working, I completed my Construction Manager degree at Tampere University of Applied Sciences and graduated in 2019. During my studies, I moved to Calto for a management traineeship and then to a foreman position.

– I have enjoyed my time with the company very much. We have a good atmosphere and everyone has been very helpful from the very beginning. I was also lucky enough to have an experienced professional to introduce me to the new tasks. Among other things, he taught me how to calculate a contract from the very beginning and I got a lot of practical advice from his long experience.

Soon, however, Jenni realised that her professional qualifications were not yet sufficient to manage the work on all sites.

– In Finland, Topten practices are used in larger cities and for larger construction projects. Topten requires that in more demanding projects, the supervisor responsible for the construction of the water and sewerage system of the building must have completed at least a minimum number of studies in HVAC. A Construction Manager degree was not enough. I have always enjoyed studying, so I continued my studies as a HVAC engineer while still working and will graduate in 2023.

What would you say to a young person who is considering a plumbing career? What about a girl considering technical options?

– I would say it’s definitely worth it. There are very good employment opportunities in the sector. Building services engineering is constantly evolving and challenging. Gender has nothing to do with getting ahead. If you feel that this is not “your thing”, you have the rest of your life to change to something else.

– I am currently working as a project manager. I mainly manage/supervise projects and do contract accounting. I especially like projects where the target is not quite conventional. For example, day-care centres with varying space and plumbing solutions.

– Women often end up in the construction industry in design or supervisory positions. I encourage you to consider contracting. I have studied and progressed through my studies from fitter to project manager, which is even more motivating. The best thing is to see the results of your own work clearly and concretely in the finished objects.

Interested in a job at Calto? Send a message to Johan Löfgren,