SAMK faces: Jari Saarinen’s heart beats for mechanical engineering and automation

Jari Saarinen, a teacher at SAMK for almost five years, is originally from Huittinen but has lived in Tampere since 2000. He likes his job and his team so much that he doesn’t mind the long journey to work. He takes the train to Pori almost every day.

Jari Saarinen tietokoneella laboratoriatilassa.

Jari Saarinen thinks that the best part of his job is the students and following their development.

When SAMK was looking for a teacher in automation, Saarinen got interested. Already during the job interview, he could hear that the team spirit of the future team would be really good.

– Something “clicked” right away. It was easy to make a decision, he recalls.

Previously, Saarinen has taught at a vocational upper secondary school and a university of applied sciences in Tampere. He also has a wide range of work experience in the industry, both as an employee and in supervisory duties.

Saarinen is originally from Huittinen but has lived in Tampere since 2000.

– I take the train to Pori almost every day, he says.

Although SAMK is next to the train station in Pori, getting home can take additional 45 minutes during rush hour in Tampere.

– The things for which I can bear the long journey to work are a good team and teamwork. I think it is also great that I get to work on projects. Here you have such a free hand to do your work. I feel that people rely on me, he says.

“The best part of my job is the students”

Saarinen teaches mechanical engineering, electrical power engineering and automation. In addition to lectures, he likes to teach through different kinds of projects. He says that projects are the crowning glory of studies.

– The best part of my job is the students. It’s great to see their development during their studies. Sometimes students come back to thank me afterwards, he says.

Students do a lot of practice in different simulation environments.

– During the Covid-19 pandemic, we built remote access to the engines in the laboratory. Now we have connected there some devices together with students and the devices will be used for teaching as they are ready.

Another ongoing project relates to property automation.

– We measure water consumption for example. Students can see energy efficiency and green values in a very concrete way.

There is also cooperation with WinNova (a local vocational education provider). That’s we order, among other things, student-made engine stands.

Pool in spare time to reset one’s mind

Saarinen says he is rather excitable and it is easy to get him involved in different kinds of things. This was apparent, for example, when he skied from Tampere to Pori with Santeri Koivisto, who used to work at SAMK.

– We left on Friday morning and were in Pori on Sunday evening, he laughs.

In his spare time, Saarinen enjoys kayaking and playing pool. He says pool is a lifeline for him. You have to focus not only on shooting but also on technique and strategy.

– I’ve been playing pool for 18 years. We have a core group of three and we always play on Thursdays. Some people might think that pool is just pocketing balls in a bar, but half a pint is enough for a six-hour set, he laughs.

A desire to move things forward

Trade union activities are also close to Saarinen’s heart. He is the chairman of TOOL Pori ry (the trade union for the teachers of technology and transportation in universities of applied sciences).

– I noticed that the young idealist in me wanted to make a difference. I realised that the only way to do that was from within. I think it doesn’t always make sense to do things the way they have been done for the last 20 years. I want to develop a discussion-based, fair working community.

Saarinen’s twins, now fifteen years old, participated in the Bring Your Child to Work Day several years ago.

– When we went home, they told their mother that “Daddy doesn’t do anything at work except play with computers”. I guess that’s how it is, men never grow up, the toys just get bigger. At least that’s true for me. I want to play, test, explore, update my skills and share my knowledge.

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