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Author: David Johansson

My time in the UK

My time in the UK

I just finished-up some of the work I`ve done here in Filton at my second placement. In some way I feel it’s just started, in other ways like I`ve been here for a long time. In this post I`ll give you some highlights of my stay.

Myself, Uppili Srinivasan and Katie Ziegler, all IGPs at GKN, testing the Elemental Rp1 during Formula Student.

As you know by now I`ve been located in the commercial department in Filton. In the commercial department potential new opportunities and development of already existing business is handled. Being part of the Commercial department allowed me to get a (brief) view of our customers and how we interact with them on a day-to-day basis as well as in projects. The tie to Airbus is strong since our accusation in 2009 which of course reflects the way we communicate. Airbus is our biggest customer and sales volume wise they are way ahead of the rest of our customer base.

My learning in terms of “commercial” has been very good over the last 6-months. I have been able to lead my own project which resulted in a number of improved skills such as planning, negotiation and people skills. I made analysis of sales and demand figures for the business. Calculated and analysed risk versus reward in terms of meeting customer requirements. I`ve worked with pricing, both how to create a price (cost, profit, NRC, etc.) and with more general pricing strategies. So in the end I really feel this placement helped me “cover” commercial.

How has my life been in Bristol then (Filton)? To be honest the start wasn`t as good as I hoped. I did a lot of things, visiting places around the area and such. However it got a bit boring to do all sightseeing on my own in the end. As time moved on I started to get more and more friends which improved the situation a lot. When I look back at these 6-months I can hardly remember any weekend where I`ve been sat at home.

I`ve been to Barcelona for a weekend (Bristol airport have a lot of LCCs). I`ve been to Leeds, London, Cardiff, Bath, Portsmouth, Southampton, Cowes, Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham (a couple of times). I`ve covered many of the great restaurants and bars in Bristol and Birmingham, not to forget Fifteen and the Shard in London. I`ve managed to get a 3rd-place in an international sailing competition without any prior sailing experience (more than practice during my stay here in Bristol). Big thanks to the crew for letting me take part. I`ve also been to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Horse polo cup. If you ever get the opportunity to look at a horse polo match, take it. It`s a crazy game and I have great respect for the polo players. Just imagine going full speed for 200 meter on a horse (and these horses are well trained) and then get tackled by another one in full speed, crazy. Each match requires about 30 horses divided by the 4 players on the field, so I better stay at work to get some over-time pay.


To summarise my working week I think routine is a good word. It starts with the alarm going off at 7 am. Breakfast while getting dressed and packing my gym bag. Leaving home at 7.40-7.45 and stopping at Costa for a coffee on the way to work (Starbucks the first weeks but the coffee taste to “sharp” in the UK). Realised I`m a “stammis” the other week when I forgot my wallet and the staff said “No worries! You can pay tomorrow David”. Then I arrive to work between 8.15 and 8.45 depending on the traffic. Lunch at 12, not 11.50 or 12.10 it`s 12 o’clock in the canteen! In 99% of the cases the commercial team (plus Allan) sits at a table down in the left corner. The canteen is a topic which could be covered in a separate blog-post. To quote Trainee-Niclas when he entered the canteen, “-Isn`t this the type of chairs and tables they have in prison so the inmates don`t throw them at each other?”. Rumour says the canteen will be refurnished though.

After lunch it`s back to the desk and/or plans for the day. When I`m done in the office I head over to the gym eating my car-snack-pack on the way (rice cakes and cashew-nuts). The gym session plus some socialising takes about an hour and a half before heading back to my place. When getting home I cook something for dinner and next day lunch-box. When I finished dinner it`s usually late and I watch TV, read, take a walk or keep in touch with my family and friends.

Some fun-things I picked up (or started with) during my stay:

  • I say “sorry” a lot more. Even if it`s not my fault (or even close to)
  • Saying “you`ll alright?” or “how are you?” without expecting an answer
  • Style-wise I`ve become more British. Black tassel loafers and longer suit jackets for example.
  • Casual Fridays is a weird thing I haven’t understood yet. Fine, skip the suit/tie but still try to look decent at least! This is not GKN specific but more UK in general.
  • Feels good to drive on the “UK-side” of the road.



IGP – Week in Stratford upon Avon, UK

IGP – Week in Stratford upon Avon, UK

Group dinner in Birmingham the weekend following Stratford. Unfortunately some had flights out in the morning but most of us joined.

It`s a bit late but I would like to give you a recap of what Malin, Neil and myself did in Stratford upon Avon beginning March (more than learning about Shakespeare). As you guys know by now the three of us are part of the International Graduate Program (IGP). It`s a program similar to the Aerospace graduate program. We`re all encouraged to try different areas within the business like purchasing, manufacturing, commercial, etc. The difference is we`re allowed to work within the whole GKN plc group and our program stretches for 5 years instead of 18 months. If you use the search function you will find a blog-post with more information about the program.

Last year 7 people were recruited to the IGP program. Since we`re 7 people joining an engineering company with close to 60’000 employee with manufacturing locations in 33 countries around the world the opportunities to meet these colleagues are limited. Even modern technical meeting techniques such as Skype are hard to manage over all time-zones.

First week in March we were given the opportunity to finally meet. We all attended a great learning week in Stratford upon Avon. The week focused on Leadership development, presentation skills and networking. To give you a better Idea I will give you a recap of each day;

Day 1: We met up for lunch and had a session were everyone introduced them self. Later the same day we had a session with the HR Director for the Aerospace division. Topics discussed covered how GKN can create a stronger brand and attract more talents around the world. Did you know GKN is partner to Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari California and BMW i8? GKN also have a sub-division within Driveline developing world leading racing equipment (Le-Mans 24hours for example).

Day 2; Topic for this day were “Leading yourself”. We went through a number of exercises to find out how we as individuals worked as leaders. We also covered different leadership styles in general.

Day 3; “Leading others” was the topic of this day. With the insights from day 2 we took it one step further and discussed different ways of handling a team and/or project. A lot of usable tools were presented and many of these were easy to use and implement in my day-to-day work.

Day 4; “Telling your story”. The day started with all of us presenting our stories of how we got to where we are today. The aim is to exceed in you telling skills. If you are able to engage and sell your idea the chances for success is way greater. We had to go through the mental pain of having the presentations filmed to later review it and work on improvements (you don`t want to see yourself presenting, trust me).

Day 5; “Presentations”. During the last day we had company from senior managers at GKN. We all presented our stories and the career goals we have. After the presentations we had a good networking session to learn more about the possibilities and opportunities within the different businesses GKN have.

During the evenings we all took the chance of getting to know the colleagues better over some dinner and drinks. Great group of people and I had a blast all week.

Thanks to Sarah Humpidge and Pauline Mullin for making such a great week possible and for flying in people from all over the world. Had so much fun!!!

Ohh… I almost forgot. We had more graduate colleagues nominated by the business joining the IGP training week as well. You can see us all in the picture below.

Picture: All participants gathered outside the Stratford Hotel.

From left-back: David Johansson (IGP, Swede), Uppili Srinivasan (IGP, India).

Third row from left: Damian Kolodziej (AM Graduate, German/Polish), Courtney Boehmer (IGP, USA), Emily Pringle (IGP, USA), Neil Irwin (IGP, UK).

Second row from left: Marcel Jordan (Legal/Business Law Graduate, German), Jangbo Xu (Chinese Graduate Program, Chinese), Katie Ziegler (IGP, USA), Malin Radberg (IGP, Swede)

Front: Pratik Dharangaonkar (Powder Metallurgy, India)  

Update from England

Update from England

It`s about time for me to post something… So here I go!

What have happened since last then? I`m up and running with my project. I have great support from my mangers and the organisation. It`s a thrill going to work in the morning. Did I describe my project? Well here is a short summary;

As described from the study-visit post by the rest of the graduates we make wings and parts related to the wing structure here in Filton. This business was bought from Airbus in 2009 which makes the connection to Airbus very strong. We are still on the same premises and shares lunch canteen and parking. As many of the programs at Airbus (A320, A330, A380) starting to get more mature it requires more service and repairs. As a result there is a need for Spare parts going to Airbus (Hamburg and Broughton). My project is then to find these parts and evaluate GKNs possibilities to better and more sufficient supply them. So my placement requires a good connection with Airbus as well as internal with our Value Streams, Procurement, Finance etc.

Even if I`m not starting my next placement until September I have already started to look for options. It still surprises me how well received the graduates are within the organisation. In the same way as the Graduates in Sweden are meeting Mike McCann at Engine System the Structures management team here are very supportive for me here. Hopefully it also allows me to point out my next step/placement. The last days I have started thinking more and more about going to Asia. A good experience even if I don`t see myself living in Asia for any longer time in life. But I will try to summarize my graduate time, or more how to handle it, in a couple of steps following this post.

Reflections from England during the last week:

  • Article 50 is trigged and the Brexit process are up and running.
  • Sadly London is (once again) the target for a terror attack.
  • Spring has started and the number of days with rain has now been reduced a bit.
  • Zara Larsson is the only artist capable of competing with Ed Sheeran’s 16 tracks on BBC Radio 1. Go Sweden!!



Bohusgården round 2!

Bohusgården round 2!

As we wrote about earlier the graduate program is not all about exploring and developing your technical know-how. One thing that we are constantly working on is personal development. I personally find this very positive, as the rest of the group I have an engineering background and technical fields tend to have less of this in there scheme. To be able to handle different situation and have success in your career a knowing of different types of personalities are key.

During our first stay we covered the topic of what shaped us as persons. It was very rewarding both in a private and professional context. When we got together this time the topics covered where constructive feedback and personality types. We all had a chance to develop and practice our skills in a set-up environment based on the time we spent as a group so far at our graduate program. We had also the possibility to do a personality test to find out what type of strengths and weaknesses we might have according to literature. I am convinced we all received great insights which we can develop further and carry with us as we gather more and more experience in life.



A visit at Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery in Finspång

A visit at Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery in Finspång


During Thursday last week we had the great pleasure of visiting Siemens in Finspång. Our visit were both informative and fun. The Siemens Graduates showed us their business which was an extra plus. Just like us at GKN they are fairly new as Graduates and have a long and exiting journey ahead of them. As a consequence many interesting topics in relation to the separate program schedules were shared. However, most positive is the fact that both GKNs and Siemens graduate programs are well established within their organizations.

Our visit started with a lunch. At the same time all participants introduced them self and presented their way to become a participant in their Graduate program. After the introduction we were informed about the history of Siemens and there organization. A fun fact is that Siemens is the second largest private employer in the region.

So what are they producing in Finspång then? In Finspång they are producing gas turbines which offers effective power solutions for customer all over the world. Among the customer are hospitals, cities, gas- and oilrigs. As you may guess it is larges turbines they are dealing with. I can personally promise that the size of these turbines and the custom making of them is very impressive.

The similarity between gas turbines and jet engines are large. In a jet engine the power is used to push the engine forward. However in a gas turbine that power is used to power a generator. In that way electricity is created (extremely short explained). In fact Siemens planed on producing jet engines for the Swedish military in the mid-20th but, as you may know that business were acquired by us at GKN (At the time Volvo). As this placed the factory in Finspång out of work a smart person found that, “-aha, there is a market for turbines”.

Apart from a very interesting visit at the assembly line we also had the great pleasure of seeing Siemens latest research project, the AM-facility. For all of you who are unfamiliar with Additive Manufacturing (AM), myself included, there are several cool videos on Youtube ( ). In this facility Siemens are able, as one (maybe the only) of the few in the world to 3D-print parts in Inconel. At GKN we are also working with AM. More information about this will be presented in a later blog post. If you can´t wait to then take a look at .

A big thanks to our great hosts for the day Elin, Lisa and Mathilda. Great recruitments for Siemens!

*Pictures show all participants during the day. In the background Siemens head office called the castle. You may guess why..

A first update

A first update

Hi! This is my first post here at the blog. From now on I will share information that I find interesting, from my work as well as activates related to work. Please take your time to read my introduction under Our young graduates if you are interested in my journey to become a GKN graduate.

How have the first weeks at GKN been then? It´s been exiting, informative and fun. So far I am most impressed by the pride all employees has for the products produced here in Trollhattan, from shifts to mangers. I couldn’t even imagine that!

Soon I will start my time at the “home” department. In my case it will be at the same department for all my six month here at GKN Aerospace and the department is called Programs. Programs are easiest described as small companies within the company. In my case the Program are responsible for all activities related to Rolls-Royce. To get a better understanding for these products my time in the factory has been focused on these products. Last week I followed the morning shift in the factory, learning about lathing and milling.

This week I have continued by visiting the operations taking place right before the products are ready to be shipped of. It has been a tight schedule but time has been wisely spread over the past weeks.

Last but not least I would like to thank all of my colleagues that I have met in the production so far. You are all making a great job!!