F I N A L L Y !

Dear beloved blog reader, do not despair! Your long lost favorite blog writer is finally back again 😉

I conceive that you all spent many sleepless nights wondering about how I am doing. How has his time in Holland been? What has he done since the last blog post? How has he managed the conversion from a trainee to a simple office-worker? Do not worry – I’m glad to announce to all of you that both my body and soul are on top!

My six months in Holland made a fantastic experience, and although my final assignment was not exactly as planned, I learned a vast amount of things along the way. I was part of a project introducing new products, which is exactly the type of work that I want to lead in the future. I was responsible for planning and scheduling as well as monitoring the activity plan. A work that may not sound like the most exciting of them all, but if you, just as I do, get aroused by complicated Excel formulas and nice looking graphs, I can promise that it will get the senses spinning wild.

Besides my professional duties, I made sure to experience all the best that Holland has to offer, and I met new friends who hopefully will be with me for the rest of my life. It was undeniably with mixed feelings that I left Holland in the beginning of May, to return to my much loved and missed Trollhättan <3

Now I’ve been on my new position for almost one month already, and I must say I got a flying start. I once again work in a project with new product introductions. This time as product manufacturing engineer and with the Japanese customer Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Working with a customer from the other side of the world and a whole new culture of course means a lot of unforeseen experiences and challenges, not least in terms of quality demands and unpronounced expectations. At the same time it is incredibly fun and exciting! For example, at which other workplace in Sweden will you be offered prawn and mussel cakes with the coffee?

As you have surely understood by now, I am like a duck to water in my new project, and it’s a wonderful atmosphere and great work commitment in the project group! With that said, I now leave the word to my trainee son-in-law Alexander, who in the next post will tell you about how it feels to finally have his biggest role models back in Sweden.

One week in Italy

Buongiorno all blog lovers,

We have just got home from one of our notorious activity weeks (we actually do more than just travel, I promise). The destination was Italy with several eventful company visits.

GKN Sinter Metals Milano
We opened the week strong with a visit to GKN Sinter Metals Milano. We were welcomed by Massimo Sala, Production & Plant Engineering Manager, who offered us everything from candy to stories from all his years within the company. This was our first visit to a Sinter Metals site, so some of us (myself included) had what you might call “a limited knowledge” of the sintering process. This was no match for the experienced Massimo who really gave us a comprehensive yet very detailed overview of the entire Powder Metallurgy Division and sintering process. Sinter Metals Milano has more than 50 customers in more than 20 countries and delivers metal parts to e.g. the automotive industry. For those who are not familiar with sintering it is, very simplified, a process of forming metal parts from powder with the help from pressure and heat. First, you squeeze metal powder into a mold, then “bake” the part in an oven to lock the material properties.

After the presentation we got a tour of the factory where we in true LEAN spirit followed the flow of the product; from mixing of metal powder to shipment of finished details. In addition to compression molding and heat treatment, the details can go through milling operations, tumbling and seizing. Massimo also showed their interactive touch-TV screens which they have in production. You can check everything from the weather to who is working in production to machine capacity. Something we graduates think we should introduce at our site. The white board era is over!

Avio Aero Turin
On Tuesday we drove about two hours west of Milan to a rainy Turin to visit our customer Avio Aero, one of General Electric’s Aerospace companies. We met with Guilia Marti who works as a buyer where GKN Aerospace Sweden is one of her customers. We received a presentation of the entire Avio Aero and we discussed customer-supplier relations. Guilia who, in comparison to many other hosts we met, was quite young, and she told us how it is to work at GE. She told us that a big difference since GE bought Avio Aero is that it has become a more transparent business environment which promotes rotations within the company to spread knowledge. A very interesting meeting which put our own company in relation to a complete-engine manufacturer.

See ya, 
Maria

Life at business development

Hi dear blog readers,

May month, summer is here and it has now been 8 months since we started our trainee program. Time flies! I am now on my third trainee rotation, which unfortunately is coming to an end.

After trying out purchasing, logistics development and seeing some of our production, I was curious about how we think about our future business, so for me it was natural to do this rotation within Business Development. During the past weeks I have been focusing on the Asian market, where a lot of work is done concentrated on business intelligence, creating relations and negotiating various types of agreements. This is done with aim on countries such as India, China, Japan, Korea, etc. During my trainee rotation, I have been involved in working on an exciting business opportunity for GKN, which has been really fun. I have learned a lot about export control, that is, what is legal to deliver or manufacture in which places of the world. I have also worked with our technology department which has been fun to get a more technical approach to the business opportunity. As you may understand, future business opportunities include sensitive information and are therefore secret for now. I cannot go into detail, but if this deal is sealed, I promise you will hear about it.

Now, we are all preparing for our next activity week which starts on Sunday. Italy is the destination and we have many exciting company visits planned. Hopefully we will have good weather and be able to have one or two gelatos between the visits, yummy!

Arrivederci!

/Emma

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Last week I had the honor to educate my dear colleagues in the hot topic of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The course was offered for colleagues from all departments during the internal educations weeks called “Training Days”. The purpose of Training days is for people around the company to share their knowledge and inspire others.

In the two hour lecture I defined artificial intelligence and discussed how these technologies could be used within the company. Several buzzwords such as big data, machine learning, deep learning, etc was clarified and examples on how machine learning could be used to solve various tasks was presented. I want to thank everyone for the warm feedback I’ve been given. I’m very happy for all the initiatives that has started as a consequence of the course.

This upcoming summer I plan to host a couple of longer courses where participants will have the opportunity to program their own machine learning algorithms.

Team spirit at GKN

This is the dream. I want work to be this way every day.

Today that’s what it felt like! We were at the SAAB museum and talked about engineering with kids still in school. It went so well that afterwards we spontaneously did a high five. Luckily there was a photographer there that managed to capture this incredible moment.

 

Greetings from New England

My name is Wesley Episcopo and I am New England’s Rotational Grad/Trainee. I live in Connecticut now and this is my first time experiencing winter… I am 25 years old and I grew up in San Diego, where it rains maybe twice a year and the only season we have is summer. I know… why move? Well before I answer that, I’d like to share a little about myself first.

I am a learner. I studied Mechanical Engineering and Entrepreneurship at San Diego State University. I boast a diverse background in hard skills from engineering and soft skills from entrepreneurship. I regard education as one of the essential elements of a well-lived life. Gathering knowledge enables me to lead by example and assist others whenever the opportunity presents itself. I practiced this while studying in school as an executive member of my fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. My drive to achieve results through reason and logic gave fruit to much success during my term. The love and care I invested into my fraternity was returned ten-fold from my brothers. Thus, being a part of a community is engrained in my being. So to be accepted as part of the Global Rotation Program is a great honor. I look forward to the opportunity to meet all of you involved and strengthen the bonds of this program.

I am an optimist. I think in terms of possibilities and I often find myself thinking about what my life could be in the future. These thoughts motivate and energize me to meet my goals, which I meticulously plan ahead and then pinpoint the order I need to accomplish them in. As focused as I may sound, I keep an open mind and welcome many people, culture, and ideas into my life. My family has hosted foreign students in our home since I was four years old. I have many friends around the world and have had the opportunity to visit a number of them. I have also studied robotics abroad in Singapore and traveled much of Southeast Asia. My interest in culture, language, and people leads me to new and fascinating discoveries that help me create new possibilities and paths for the future. If you happen to have the same visionary mindset, I welcome you to join me for a drink sometime. I am always open to discuss the ideas of the future and bring them into reality.

So considering everything I have told so far, it should be clear that I am comfortable travelling to new places. Even if it means leaving San Diego to live in the cold, cold East Coast. I can only imagine how much colder it will be in Sweden… Luckily I will have had a year in Connecticut to get used to the lower temperatures and collect some warmer clothes too!

Where am I’m going next?

Drumbeat…

 

The correct answer is Florence!

I’m starting at the Driveline site, outside of Florence, the 9th of April. I will be part of the Supply Chain department and I have two projects. In the first one, I will implement a software in production, which the operators can use to order material. The other one includes implementation of self-driven tow trains. I’m very excited for the things that will come and it will be very interesting to work within the Driveline division since I believe it will be very different compared to Aerospace.

I had a great time in Trollhättan and I got the opportunity to do so many things that I will never have the chance to do again. I will miss my beloved graduate group and all nice co-workers who have welcomed me with open arms. Let’s hope that the Italians are as nice as everyone here. ☺

I promise to write a blog post from Italy!

Take care!

/Signe

An Unforgettable Time

Ski Trip to Hemsedal, Norway

My time as a Global Graduate is coming to an end.  I will be finished with my assignment in Trollhättan this week and will be going back to Cincinnati to start in my new position as a manufacturing engineer.  It is a bittersweet end to my time as a trainee and my time in Sweden.  All I can say is that the past 18 months as a trainee and 6 months in Sweden have gone by so fast but will be unforgettable.

The end to the trainee program is an end to 18 months of hard work, adapting to new situations, and working with all new people.  The first year in Cincinnati was filled with demanding positions and great learning opportunities.  The last 6 months in Sweden has been filled with learning experiences and adventures.  Returning to my home site I have so much to share from my experiences as a trainee.

For me, besides one other activity week trip to the United Kingdom, I had never traveled outside the United States, so going to live in another country was a brand new experience.  Despite being in Sweden during winter, which I have been told by multiple people over my time here is the worst time to be here, I have really enjoyed my time living here.  It has been interesting from the culture experiences of the kräftskiva and Julfest, to the travel around the country to places such as Kiruna, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Fjällbacka.  It has been delicious getting to try the Swedish food from meatballs, lingonberries, and reindeer to Swedish pancakes.  I always look forward to fika since moving to Sweden, especially Fredagsfika.  It has also been a lot of fun learning how to play innebandy.  I have never played before (or even a similar sport) but I enjoyed getting to play as many times as I could with my co-workers at the GKN gym.

Chez Janou for dinner in Paris

The best part of being a trainee for me has been the friendships with all of the other trainees I have met.   The GKN Global Graduate program has been full of great memories with my fellow trainees from work to vacations, and from the activity weeks to after works.  I will forever remember the experiences such as jumping into the freezing cold sea while in Stockholm, traveling around Europe during our activity week with all kinds of crazy weather, my ski weekend in Hemsedal, my trip up to Kiruna to see the Northern Lights, and so many other memories this past 6 months. The time I have spent with all the trainees is truly memorable and I look forward to any opportunities to work with them in the future.

Josh

Do you also want to have fun at work?

Then you shouldn’t forget to send in your application for GKN Aerospace graduate program. The application closes on Wednesday 28/2. If you have any questions regarding the graduate program do not hesitate to ask us graduates at aerotrainees@gknaerospace.com

Click here to apply to a Engineering position

Click here to apply to a Economist position

For me, having fun at work while having the opportunity to personal development, networking and being able to build my own career is nothing else but bull’s eye.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Me, my Volvo, and my kanelbulle

Six months ago I landed in Sweden with no idea what to expect from life and work here. I didn’t know who I’d be working with, what I’d be working on, or what life would be like in Trollhättan. This past six months have been filled with all sorts of amazing experiences, but now it’s my time to go back home. All good things must come to an end, and that’s true for both my time in Sweden and for my time as a GKN trainee.

Learning about Swedish culture, at work and otherwise, has been an absolute joy. One of the advantages I’ve found by being in Sweden during the winter it’s, despite the bad weather, given me insight into parts of Swedish culture that would lost on those who visit during the warmer months. This includes the julmarknad, Christmas market, where one can buy gifts for the family as well a variety of food and drinks, such as; glögg (mulled wine), sill (pickled herring, a classic), reindeer, älgkorv (moose sausages) and other tasty treats. These foods might end up on the julbord, Christmas table, the traditional spread of foods families feast on during Christmas. We were lucky enough to join with our trainee friends, current and former, to try a julbord at their St. Lucia celebration, a two-for-one Swedish tradition learning opportunity. Another small detail of Christmas time were the lights almost everyone placed in their windows, giving every town in Sweden from Malmö to Kiruna a cozy Christmastime feel.

At work, I found many cultural differences. The first, of course, was fika! Fika is the wonderful Swedish tradition of a work group coffee break with cake and/or pastries. Time on Friday afternoons comes to a stop when everyone assembles for our weekly “Fredagsfika”. This is in contrast to the American tradition of Friday donuts or bagels, where no one is taking time off, nearly the amount of time it takes to eat a donut. Sometimes an enterprising coworker, or their spouse, will make their own cake or pastry for fika. I myself made brownies and snickerdoodles to add an American dimension to a Swedish tradition. All in all, my favorite fika treat has to be the kanelbulle, the Swedish cinnamon bun. Another cultural aspect is idea of the afterwork. I had never spent time with my coworkers outside of work, so the concept of grabbing dinner or going bowling with my fellow trainees was a foreign concept to me. This is one tradition I’m hoping to bring back to the US. I really like the idea of getting to bond with coworkers in a non-work setting, I think it promotes good teamwork. The last cultural difference isn’t so much a tradition, but more of activity. With a gymnasium on site, coworkers will gather three days a week to play innebandy (floor hockey). I joined nearly every time I could, and will tell you that despite being a technically non-competitive game, things get intense! I’m almost 100% positive this type of thing would never happen in the US, with coworkers getting injuries like twisted ankles relatively often, or using body defense against your boss.

Before this post gets too long, I want to summarize the places I’ve been to and the things I’ve seen. Over the past 6 months I’ve been to Gothenburg a fair share of times, Stockholm three times, Kiruna in Northern Sweden twice, Copenhagen, Oslo, and a whole slew of countries and cities on our Eurotrip. I’ve visited the SSC, OHB, GKN Fokker Aerostructures, ESA, GKN driveline in Paris and Safran on study visits. My sister and later some of my friends from home came to Sweden and allowed me to show them this amazing country. In short, it’s been an action packed and eventful six months. Six months I’ll remember for the rest of life.

Lastly, a small list of things that annoyed me about Sweden, because no where’s perfect. Number one, the prices. Good lord, living in Sweden is expensive. How does everyone dress so nicely and feed themselves at the same time? Is 80% of your income spent on food and clothes? Number two, speaking of dressing nicely, Swedes are too good looking. No one wants to feel unattractive for 6 months straight. Sometimes I seriously feel like the worst dressed person in this whole country. Lastly, topics of discussion. Yes, there are in fact things to talk about besides the weather and the “new” coffee machines they put in two months ago.

All that’s behind me now, for in a few short days I make my return to San Diego. Soon I’ll step off the plane into the warm Californian sun, and step forward into the next chapter of my career here at GKN.

Nick