These employees are given the ability to test their learned theories and methods in a real working environment. This experience helps young professionals’ un-earth new discoveries and opens the individual’s eyes to what their professional future will actually entail. This can be very enlightening as for most institutional instruction will not align perfectly with industry experience and involvement. The same concepts and methods of thinking can be adopted across these platforms but the execution of such will often vary widely.
One of the current apprentices mentioned how his experiences within the corporation regarding cross training gave him an advantage over his peers in the classroom. He was trained to operate heavy machinery during his apprenticeship a year prior to his educational introduction to the equipment. This will allow him to dive deeper into the content and gain a more comprehensive, working understanding of the user interface upon his academic examination of the material. Working as a welder he notes;
“The only way to master this trade is by spending time under the hood, which there has been no shortage of here. I’m not just doing the same thing day in and day out. I am gaining an understanding of metal fabrication and adding to my repertoire of experiences working in other related such as inserting, finishing and operating a brake press. Not only does this help influence my understanding of related processes that interact with my main responsibility, but it broadens my capabilities in the shop making me a more valuable asset to the company. The job diversity at MPE is top notch.”
-Mike Partington: Welding Apprentice
Some of the most important aspects of internship or co-op experiences are what is absorbed from reading between the lines. These are the lessons and skills the employee will gain knowledge from that aren’t specifically pertinent to their “area of study”. This will prove to be a valuable building block in their mindset towards future professional development with stratification of their expanding skillset, making them a more valuable, multi-faceted employee down the road.
At a company like MPE these shining pupils are exposed to a myriad of interdisciplinary work. Many interns exit their internship session with an abundance of professional skills when compared with their capabilities upon entering the session. A direct example of such can be sited from a quote that came from a recent industrial design intern. He went on to explain,
“I really appreciate the time I have spent at MPE. I have obtained new bits and pieces of knowledge in web design and analytics, video composition and editing, metal finishing techniques, assembly processes, Quality standards, creation of office templates, Internal marketing content creation, business etiquette, metal manufacturing, powder coating, silk screening, user interface design, rendering and overall design for manufacturing. I also became much more efficient with my existing ID based skills including digital and manual illustration techniques, rendering, graphic compositions, creation of promotional material, material selection, manufacturing process and tool selection, efficient design for construction, better time management skills, digital photography and post processing, professional etiquette, improved organization due to many conflicting projects schedules.”
-Connor McTaggart: Industrial Designer
Many of these lessons simply cannot be taught in a classroom. An example of such is leading a conference call. There is an unwritten code of ethics that go along with many business activities. These principles are by no means set in stone but they are best to be respected and adhered to portray professionalism and an even keeled demeanor. Your instructor can philosophize all day about potential situations you may encounter in the work place and how to handle them but at the end of the day nothing beats organically experiencing it for yourself. Simply memorizing things doesn’t build character or teach you how to navigate professionally based social contexts.
Some of the areas of employment that we have had interns/apprentices/under studies working include; accounting, engineering, marketing, sales, industrial design, customer service, quality, metal fabrication and finishing, machine operation, supply chain management and inventory management.
Some of the benefits from working at a company of this stature come vicariously via the culture surrounding the environment. For one, the company is of a scale to where you can get to know most of your coworkers. I believe that because of this size people are much friendlier with one another because they will inevitably deal with one another in the future. There is a stronger sense of comradery l compared to organizations of greater magnitude. The team is considerably smaller therefore it is that much more critical for each one of its members to be strong. Coworkers also never hesitate to help a peer in need. This helps to eliminate any unhealthy sense of competition amongst colleagues. The work environment was also very open and accepting of all backgrounds and orientations and diversity is embraced.
“During my time with the company I had opportunities to work on many projects regarding different subject matter. This really helps to keep daily activities and responsibilities novel and engaging. Another aspect to this that I found highly insightful was the variable exposure to third party consultants of a wide variety. Everything from other industrial design firms to electrical engineering consultants I had exposure to a wide range of other professionals and had the opportunity to integrate my workflow with theirs to come up with a fantastic shared result greater that either of its parts. It is fantastic to see how other teams go about solving the same problem. This process usually yields many valuable takeaways especially for a novice. Not to mention the networking opportunities and shared credibility these projects yield. Once you have worked alongside another agency in a proficient manner they are more likely to recurrently select you or your group for future consultations.”
-Connor McTaggart: Industrial Designer