Some might ask themselves; what does it mean to be a Graduate Engineer? Or, what distinguishes a graduate trainee position against an employment as an engineer?
In terms of work, the biggest difference is that our first year consists of several internships within the company where we have the opportunity of rotation between different departments in order to gain a broad insight into the various areas. In addition to our daily work, we have some other things ongoing, such as study visits both internally at GKN Aerospace as well as externally, parallel to that we operates our own project (more on that in a later post).
Since the basic idea, as I said is that we should gain a broad insight into the whole business, we try to set up meetings with most of the different departments here at GKN Aerospace Trollhättan. During these meetings, different people gets the opportunity to tell us more about what is happening within their department and, for example, tell us about the current issues in their daily business. It gives us the opportunity to get a broad insight even in those areas that we ourselves are not working with, and quite honestly, who really knows what an engineer actually does? My hope is that I have a better answer or at least a greater insight into precisely that question when the year is over.
As an example, this Monday we had a meeting with the purchasing department, where we got to take part in some of their work and the issues, obstacles and opportunities that it means to work worldwide with a large number of different suppliers. For me it was very exciting to hear about this since it is something that is far away from my daily work!
Beside all internal meetings here in Trollhättan, we try to schedule meetings with other interesting external companies. Previously you’ve been able to read about our first activity week that took place in Linköping and Stockholm. Next activity week is planned for Vernon and Papendrecht, but as a supplement to these long way travel visits we try to visit interesting companies represented in the region. Today, we visited my old employer Volvo Trucks in Tuve (Gothenburg). We started the day with a production tour and then get to meet people who work with materials management, production management, and future product planning. All the meetings were very interesting and rewarding – it’s always nice to meet new companies and compare how we are working here at GKN to how other companies are working with similar challenges that we face (although for a completely different product).
I hope this post can provide clearer insight into the graduate engineer program structure here at GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan and that it can be a step towards a better understanding of the variations of the works of an engineer.