From degree project all the way to manager

September 23, 2022

A couple of exchange semesters took Celine Debras from France to Luleå. There she was given the chance to do a degree project for LKAB and now, twelve years later, she is still here.

Woman under ground in work clothes and mining helmet.

Why did you want to work at LKAB in particular?

I lived in France, studied engineering in geology and had never heard of LKAB before. My school had an exchange with Luleå University of Technology that allowed students to specialise in mineralisation and ore geology, so in my second year of study I moved to Luleå to study two semesters at LTU. My plan was to move back home to France after the exchange year to start my career there, but it didn’t happen that way. During the second semester, I had the opportunity to do my degree project for LKAB and shortly afterwards they were looking for a geologist for a new mine in Malmberget. At the time, there weren’t many open jobs in mining and exploration in France, so I applied and got the position and thought I might as well try working here for a couple of years. Now it’s been 12 years and I’m still here.

What has your LKAB career path looked like?

I started in a role as both exploration and mining geologist as there were no exploration department at the time. I remained in that role for 6–7 years before I went on parental leave. When I came back there was a reorganisation. An exploration department was created and I was transferred to Svappavaara. There I worked for two more years as a mining geologist before going on a second parental leave. When it came time for me to come back, I felt I wanted to do something different so I applied for and got a position as Group Manager Geology in the Kiruna Mine and took up the position in May 2019. In November 2020 my boss was leaving and offered me to take over after him. When that position was dvertised in February 2021, I applied and got it and have been working as section manager since then.

What has been decisive when you have taken a step in your career?

It has been a combination of mentorship and personal development. In my previous role, I had a superb mentor and felt really seen. I would say that there is a culture and a structure within LKAB of seeing people and being proactive when it comes to recruitment and career paths.

What advice would you give to a new employee who wants to develop his or her career within LKAB?

Be yourself and do the things you want to do. Express your desires and interests and others will help you along the way. But it’s also about being open and wanting to learn.

What is your best tip for becoming a part of a work group?

You must be open and genuinely curious about other people, then you will quickly join the group.