Joining a graduate scheme was the perfect way for Ife to develop his knowledge and skills. He’s learnt that as an engineer communication is essential and he’s loved the variety and challenges that come with the role, including the chance to become a project manager.
Ife joined Siemens Automation and Drives in October 2010. Having studied a BEng in mechanical engineering and an MSc in advanced manufacturing engineering with management at Loughborough University, he knew he wanted to work for a large multinational engineering company and Siemens’ graduate scheme seemed like the perfect place.
“Since joining the scheme I’ve had a number of interesting corporate training modules and a few rotational placements too. I like the variety of work,” he explains. “Some days I’ll be at my desk designing new test fixtures using CAD and other times I’ll be acting as a project manager for engineering projects. Around this time last year I was involved with other colleagues, building and racing an electric car on the F1 track at Silverstone, which was a great experience - and really interesting.”
The scheme has definitely lived up to Ife’s expectations - it’s given him the opportunity to really develop his knowledge and skills.
“It’s been challenging, but I’ve enjoyed that. I was in charge of a project involving the implementation of new software, engineering processes and a reallocation of tasks within the factory earlier this year. During the course of the project I chaired large meetings, and while the project itself was fairly straightforward, controlling the meetings was like trying to herd a bunch of excited cats!
Ife has learnt from that project - and others that he’s worked on - that communication skills are essential in his role.
“It seems odd but most people have the required technical skills and at the end of the day the soft skills are what really make the difference. It doesn’t matter how much you know or how good you are, people want to know what’s happening on a project. The smoothest projects are the ones where everyone knows what’s happening at all times. A good engineer should be able to liaise with all stakeholders, regardless of their technical background,” he says.
Ife’s been involved in training for some of the softer skills such as communications and effective business writing as well as the technical side including using NX 3D CAD software and workshop training for the different machines. But for him one of the most enjoyable aspects of the graduate scheme is the people he gets to work with.
“I really like the fact that I’m part of a team at Siemens. My colleagues are really professional, but at the same time, very friendly. We play football together and go out for meals, they praise you when you’re doing well and support you if you’re struggling. When we’re involved in a tough project, we knuckle down and work hard because we know we are all in it together. And then, at the end of the project, we celebrate our success as a team,” he says.
Based on his placements so far, Ife is looking forward to developing his skills on the industrial side of engineering, as he’d like to work with automated lines and robotics as well as project management.
“The Graduate Scheme has been great for me and I would say to anyone thinking about applying to just do it. Siemens is such a large company there’s a role for everyone. And if you know what you want to do - and it benefits both you and the company - the role could be created.
“Before I started here, my dream was to make a positive impact in people’s lives through technological development. I truly believe that this can be achieved at Siemens,” he concludes.