Apollo Fire Detectors has specialised in the design and manufacture of high-quality fire detection products since 1980. It is an organisation that is keen to raise awareness of engineering and to encourage students to take up engineering roles on graduation. It believes that supporting student engineers through internships is a great way to find talented and keen people that could end up as future employees.
A mutually beneficial relationship
Internships can be mutually beneficial to both the student and the company, as Apollo’s Technical Manager, Sarah Bassett, highlights.
“It is a great way for interns to gain experience of working in an engineering team and to learn about how to design and then manufacture products. Apollo benefits by hopefully finding enthusiastic students who show how they can develop, with the hope they then want to continue to work for Apollo once they have graduated.
“It is like an extended job interview where Apollo is finding out whether the intern has the right skills and can fit into the company, the students also have the opportunity to work out if a career in engineering is for them and whether Apollo is the company they would like to work for,” she explains.
A chance for students to increase their technical skills
For the intern, it is a chance to increase their technical skills as they work with experienced engineers on product development and design.
“We teach them about design processes, having a structured approach to their work and how to have effective peer reviews before designs are released,” Sarah says. “Hopefully they learn how important it is to hold formal reviews and catch errors early and then understand the impact to timescales and cost if this does not happen.
“They learn how to apply what they have learnt at university to actual projects and what it is like in the ‘real world’,” she adds.
The importance of technician professional registration for students
Sarah believes that internships are a great opportunity for students to gain Engineering Technician (EngTech) or ICT Technician (ICTTech) status while still in education. This provides them with better career opportunities post-graduation and also helps the business in its recruitment of professionally qualified engineers.
A simple role
She’s also keen to note that helping students towards professional registration can be surprisingly straightforward, as was the case with past-intern, and current employee, James Clayton.
“James is a very proactive person, so he took the lead and investigated what he needed to do. We gave him regular support when needed, and his placement diary was reviewed monthly as well as regular competency reviews. The company allowed James to develop his EngTech competencies and this went hand-in-hand with his project work. There was very little extra work on top of his day-to-day tasks,” Sarah notes.
A way for employers to find talented new staff
“I believe supporting student professional registration is a great opportunity for employers to find talented engineers. By helping James along this journey we gained an enthusiastic engineer who showed that he wants to continuously learn and improve,” she concludes.