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

Visit from GKN at GKN

We had the pleasure of meeting Didunoluwa Obilanade, a graduate from GKN Aerospace in Filton! He works with AM and has been in Sweden for a classified project. We will actually meet him again in a few weeks when we’re going to England.

I think Didunoluwa thought it was nice to meet us too, he wrote this on Yammer:

“Back in Filton AMC after a great week learning from the Prometheus Engine team in Trollhättan. Whilst I was in Sweden I arranged to meet with the GKN Trollhättan Trainees, my Swedish counterparts. They hosted me with some delightful ‘Fika’ as we discussed the range of project work that we’ve been doing during our graduate schemes, how they differ and the importance of taking time like this to network and learn about the activities of our sites. In fact two of the trainees are currently on the American GKN graduate program, doing their international placement in Sweden, hence this was a very global graduate networking session. The Trollhättan trainees will be visiting the UK sites in March and I’m much looking forward to hosting them during their visit to the GKN Bristol sites.”

GKNs Trainees at TraineeDay

Last week ended with a happy mood and big smile for us trainees! Four of us trainees – Signe, Maria, Emma and myself – together with Magnus Hallberg attended last Friday the TraineeDay event in Gothenburg to represent GKN Aerospace Sweden.

What type of event is TraineeDay? The purpose of TraineeDay is to give students and young professionals all across Sweden the opportunity to gather and meet company representatives with the leading Graduate Programmes in Sweden (hint hint). During the entire day we mingled with very engaged and interested people who wanted to know more about the GKN business, where we got the pleasure to share more about is at GKN and our Graduate Programme and what it entails. To share our experiences within the programme, describing what type of challenging, fun and interesting tasks and events we have been involved with.

The GKN gang gathered at our stand

During the afternoon, Emma and I also held a company presentation/seminar to share more information about GKN, the industry, our Graduate Programme. Additionally, we also held a Guesstimations workshop, that was really fun for all of us involved. For those of you who has never heard of Guesstimations – the challenge is to find a reasonable answer to a question, based on sensible thought processes and personal knowledge. An example;

How long does it take for JAS 39 Gripen to travel between Gothenburg – Stockholm?

  • Most of us know that the distance is around 400 km.
  • Reasonable guess to max. velocity at around Mach 2 – 2500 km/h.
  • From proportions – it should be less than 1/6 of an hour – less than 10 minutes!
  • (Use the same question with Ariane 5 rocket and 25 000 km/h – less than a minute!)

Answers definitely varies depending on personal assumptions and time given, but the entire workshop was really appreciated and we had a lot of fun together.

A quick selfie after the seminar!

The entire day was very exciting, filled with mingle and happy faces, along with a very successful seminar with a lot of questions and laughter. TraineeDay was really good and definitely something I could be a part of once again, 5/5 toasters!

/Philip

An amazing Sweden tour

We graduates have now landed back at the office again after an amazing Sweden tour! This Monday we once again took a seat in our dear van to visit interesting companies such as SAAB, ABB and GKN Driveline.

We were very excited prior the meeting with SAAB since we would be given the opportunity to see the final assembly of JAS Gripen, our Swedish fighter which we in Trollhättan have designed and manufactured several versions of its engine. SAAB’s current graduates greeted us; it was of course nice to hear more about SAAB as a company as well as how their graduate scheme is like. It was fascinating to see the final assembly of JAS Gripen. To be standing under a fighter does not count as ordinary and we was able to see the talented fitters who assembled by hand (!). We ended the visit with a pleasant dinner together with all the graduates.

Once in Linköping we with took the opportunity to work at LARM (Linköping university work fair), thereof the “waitress” outfit, and visit the Air force museum.

A fun day at LARM and the Air force museum

On the road again to ABB in Västerås and their Graduates. They are a whopping 16 people who kindly organized everything from a dinner, to a company presentation by Dennis Helfridsson (Vice President ABB Robotics Sweden), a tour through the robot factory and inspiring activities in their robotics lab.

The Sweden tour was finished off with a visit at our sister company GKN Driveline in Köping. An impressive visit led by Peter Sköld (SCIL Leader) where we had change to see the differences between the two businesses. A high degree of automation, which is explainable since they manufacture millions of components in a year. The pace is not as high in Trollhättan…

Visit at GKN Driveline in Köping

To conclude, an amazing trip with various types of visits and an opportunity to create good relations with other graduates and leading figures within the companies. Cannot wait until next trip!

/Lisa