Ever thought about doing an internship – whether that be for a couple of months or to take a year out of University? Ever thought about taking on a Student or an Intern?
The UK is suffering a shortage of skilled engineers. An engineering UK study has revealed that the UK needs 186,000 new engineering entrants to keep up with the demand of today’s needs. We are currently educating under 20,000 new graduates per year, but how many of these have industry experience?
As specialists within CAD Design and Technical Recruitment, A4 Plus has committed to support the need for these new engineering entrants by offering Internship placements within our Design Office. The first placements being provided in 2016 with Andy and Matt, who joined us from Nottingham Trent University.
Our Design Office, and the variety of projects we work on, allows us to provide Interns with a varied experience in both industry and software, assisting them in considering areas of greater interest, resulting perhaps in a clearer picture of their career objectives following their graduation.
So, here’s what they say :-
When did you first start your internship at A4 Plus?
Andy – I was first welcomed into the Office mid-July last year.
Matt – I’ve been working at A4 Plus since September 2016.
What hurdles have you faced joining the team?
Andy – I was straight away thrown into the deep end testing my technical knowledge and CAD skills. After battling with the 3D mouse for several days I was off, diving into the world of Mechanical Engineering, helped by a few nudges and an occasional push in the right direction.
Matt – During my time here I’ve been exposed to an exceptional variety of work, each posing different challenges and requiring skills that were beyond me before I joined. Through the wealth of knowledge of the Design Manager and Managing Director I was able to quickly adapt to the professional work environment and produce what was expected.
What have you learnt during your internship that you wouldn’t have at Uni?
Andy – The thing that I have most learnt from my time at A4 Plus is the real world of industry. From a Students perspective learning from lectures and classes you never fully visualise the finer points of design. I have learnt to design for manufacture allowing for tolerances, sometimes just simply adding a chamfer for a safety edge! You only pick these points up through experience. Perhaps the most important skill I have learnt is clarity in design, as a Designer working with a diverse number of clients you have to make sure that everyone, from manufacturers to project managers, can understand and can interpret what you have done. These skills are priceless to my design knowledge and are things that only actually working experience can teach you.
Matt – The vast improvement in my technical ability, drawing standards and key attention to detail have been the highlights, A4 Plus really focus on these aspects and I wouldn’t have been able to experience what I have during my time at university.
What have you gained from the experience?
Andy – I’ve been involved in several projects, from small detailing jobs to long term jobs. With each of these projects they’ve given me the opportunity to improve every aspect of my design knowledge and at times really tested my time management, but with support at every step by our whole team each project has been a success.
Matt – The constant support and positive criticism really helped me to fine tune my skills and pushed me to achieve a far higher standard of work than before I joined.
Do you have any other comments?
Andy – Still with a few weeks left at A4 Plus I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. With the industry so competitive, and ever developing, it can be hard for a student to even begin to gain experience, but with placement programmes like this it gives talented students that first step up.
Matt – This has completely changed my approach and outlook for when I go back to university to finish my final year of my degree. I’d like to thank everyone at A4 Plus for the help during my time here.
Our Managing Director, Steve Wild, tells us why he decided to take on 2 interns:
This has been a very positive experience for us, and one we’d certainly repeat. From the start, we considered internships as more than just work experience – Matt and Andy have been paid for their time and, in return, we expected a contribution to the business – made all the better given Andy and Matt’s attitude and work ethic.
We recognised that taking on Interns should, and can, be of great benefit to the business. Yes, they provide a helping hand, at an affordable rate, but it goes deeper than that; you get a fresh approach, a young, enthusiastic person with a questioning mind – happy to challenge and eager to learn. For us, Andy and Matt have quickly settled, soaking up knowledge with each project, learning as they go and paying us back with that new skill and experience on the next, and next, and next project.
For Internships to work well, both sides need to gain which has certainly been the case here. It’s very difficult for young people to gain experience unless an employer is willing to give them a chance, an opportunity. We look for the right attitude in applicants, a willingness to learn for example, rather than instant talent.
I’m delighted that Matt and Andy have grown and developed during their time at A4 Plus and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours – well done to them both.
Want to see the full Engineering UK Study? Take a look here.