Why would one work in a blue-collar job during the summer when the goal is to end up doing nice and neat office work after graduation? Most of us, at least in mechanical engineering, begin our summer job/trainee careers on a production line or as an assistant mechanic or such instead of going straight for the designer or supervisor type of summer positions. Of course, there is the aspect of not being able to compete for such positions against people who have studied for 3 or 4 years already and have some work experience backing them up. However, a lot of us deliberately aim for production work.
The hands-on experience gives us valuable knowledge that we wouldn’t get if we jumped straight to an actual engineering job. Naturally, the experience is the most useful if you can continue your way up in the same company, but none of it goes to waste, even if the next summer job, thesis work or the first job after graduation is somewhere else.
I have identified three main reasons why we should all work in production in the beginning. First of all, it is arduous to work on a product you’re unfamiliar with, whether the work involves supervising production, developing it or designing the device itself. You will have to learn all about the product at some point, but it’s rather effortless in production. Especially in places like here at Metso, where we get to assemble the product from start to finish, meaning we get to know all the assembly phases and the specific differences of our various products. ST2.8, LT1213, ST4.8 and so on, were all the same blur before actually working with the machines. Well, to be honest, when I started I didn’t even know what a mobile screen was.