Combined Shape

bringing new ways to connect people and ideas

Through our management trainee program, Aalberts aims to attract the talented graduates we need for long-term success. During the program, trainees complete six projects at various Aalberts companies over a period of 18 months. By the end, they have a strong understanding of our business, an extensive network, and are ready to take on the role in our company best suited to their unique abilities and ambitions.

Joep Steggink joined the program in January after finishing his degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at Hogeschool Utrecht. For his first project, in Lamers’ Projects and Engineering department, he has focused on digitizing processes used in clean rooms to assemble and qualify products, to help Lamers become more sustainable and paperless and embrace Industry 4.0.

Joep Steggink holding one of the assemblies for which he developed a digital work instruction

It hasn’t always been straightforward. “We deliver extremely high tech products, but some of our processes are still a bit old school,” Joep says. “I really like that because there are a lot of possibilities for improvement, but I’ve learned that it is critical to talk to people on the shop floor so that everyone understands what you’re trying to do and how it could make things better.”

As it turns out, talking to different people is Joep’s favorite part of the experience so far. “As a trainee you don’t have time to sit at your desk and figure things out on your own,” he says. “You need to talk to people to get information and discuss your ideas and figure things out. I talk to so many different people inside the company, and every time I do I get new context, hear different stories and opinions, and just learn a lot.”
Joep feels like that interest goes both ways. “My mentor is very friendly and open – I never experienced a mentor that was so close with my project,” he says. “Everyone asks how I’m doing and how my project is going. I see that people I talk to are excited about the improvements we could make, and that gives me more energy to go and work on my project.”

“Traineeships are a way for us to experiment as a company, so we need trainees who are eager to learn and try to invent something new,” says Chris Rutten, Joep’s mentor and Director of Engineering & Quality at Lamers. “Because Joep is a non-technician in a technical environment, he can approach things completely differently. He is not afraid to ask questions and is good at making connections that we don’t always make ourselves. You might expect engineers to be skeptical about a ‘wise guy’ from the university, but he has earned their respect.”

As Joep’s first project comes to a close, that eagerness to learn is as strong as ever. “I have learned so many things here I can barely even name all of them,” he says. “It is bittersweet to leave Lamers because I’m so immersed in my project and in the company, but I’m looking forward to finishing setting up my pilot and finding out what problem I get to try to solve next.”

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