Students discover the Mercer Stendal pulp mill

For many years now, one day in April has been a tradition: Future Day. It takes school-aged students to shadow different workplaces – girls in classic male professions and boys in classic women professions. Mercer Stendal gladly took part in this event, inviting local girls and boys last Thursday to discover the Arneburg pulp mill together.

Local Arneburg students build a flashlight in Mercer Stendal as part of Future Day 2022. Photo: Daniela Wedel

In the workshop, the students got close and personal with craft and technical work to build a flashlight – made of wood, of course. Photo: Daniela Wedel

Mercer Stendal has welcomed students for Future Day for 14 years now. With Lisa Bemmann, Carolina Lücke, and Frederike Schwalm (all 14 years old) and Marlon Vogler (11), four students signed up with the mill this year. They were welcomed by Sirko Röder, Training and Development Coordinator, who explained pulp and what it is made of. With the students in the in-house auditorium, he explained the production process at the mill with the associated skilled workers who oversee it.

“The Arneburg pulp mill is the most efficient of its kind in continental Europe. The entire production process is based on the renewable raw material wood, which is one of the world’s most important renewable raw materials,” Röder said. “We source this from domestic forests as well as Scandinavia. Our aspiration is to extract the greatest possible value from the wood. After that, we recycle the residual materials. in fact, Mercer Stendal is the largest producer of bioelectricity based on solid biomass in Germany,” he explained as the students’ eyes lit up. “Overall, we produce not only pulp, but also biochemicals such as turpentine, tall oil and methanol.”

Röder went on to present the types of professions in the mill, such as chemical technician, paper technologist, mechatronics technician, electronics technician for operating technology, and more. “All employees work together like cogwheels to keep production running,” said Röder. He also presented the available professional development opportunities.

“Enough theory for now,” Röder said afterwards and gave the quartet a tour of the plant. The students asked numerous questions, showed interest, and were impressed with what they saw. The tour took them past the wood reception point and the chipping plant to the pulp store. A full day, one might think, but there was just one more thing. In the pulp mill’s workshop, the students were invited to build their own wooden flashlight. “It is important to have our valuable raw material wood in hand and to feel it by sawing and sanding,” Röder explained.

2 LED handmade, wooden flashlights built by local Arneburg students as part of Future Day 2022 in Mercer Stendal. Photo: Daniela Wedel

The students took their handmade, wooden LED flashlights home with them. Photo: Daniela Wedel


This was well received by the students. “We had not expected such a program,” they agreed. Above all, they were impressed by the size of the plant and very much appreciated the hands-on experience. All four Future Day visitors agreed: They want to come again. “Perhaps they will be the new apprentices in two years’ time and thus the skilled workers of tomorrow,” added Röder, delighted at the idea.