He nearly had his plane ticket before he had his contract. Richard Koenders was looking for a challenge, one in which he could combine sales and engineering. A traineeship at Visser & Smit Hanab was the answer. After his last job interview, he immediately left for a project in Denmark.
In this innovative trainee programme, trainees get to know the four Visser & Smit Hanab business units - TDS, Distribution, IPP and OC&T - over the course of two years. 'In the first six months you learn way more than in the three months of the original traineeship. What's more, you have a better opportunity to really see a project to completion before moving on to the next business unit.'
'You are free to develop your own skills,' Richard muses. 'In each department, you can indicate what you'd like to learn or see. You discuss that with your on-the-job coach. Plus, at the beginning of your traineeship, you get to draw up a personal development plan based on your own ambitions and skills. It's up to you to determine how to implement that. Your mentor, one of the business unit directors, will help you with that.'
From behind the desk to in the mud
Richard studied Mechanical Engineering at the institute of technology in Enschede, doing a postgraduate course in Technology Management. For his first six months, he worked at TDS. ‘You gain a lot of engineering insight when studying, but when it comes to putting it into practice, it's a lot of learning on the job. Everyone is prepared to take the time for that and to share their knowledge. Now, I'm working at OC&T doing market research. That's more in line with my Technology Management studies.' In Richard's experience, the traineeship can be very challenging and is very varied because of the interdisciplinary nature of the work that Visser & Smit Hanab does. 'What direction I want to go in when I'm done? I haven't got a clue yet. I'm just keeping an open mind for the time-being and taking in as much as I can. Whether inside behind a desk or, more importantly, outside in the mud, they both have their appeal!'