How Sewtec is nurturing the next generation of engineers27 February 2019
At Sewtec, we’re committed to developing talented young individuals who have ambitions to drive the precision engineering industry forward.
Our goal is to nurture and train young engineers in an environment where they can take a hands-on approach to learning how to develop, innovate and build bespoke automation solutions. From apprentices to graduates, we want to give the next generation of engineers the skillset and knowledge to take the industry to the next level in the future.
Andrew Chrysostomou, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Huddersfield, has given an insight into his placement year at Sewtec and how his experiences will stand him in good stead for the rest of his career.
Being part of the team from day one
Working under the title of design engineer, my role at Sewtec was to support other designers on projects and offer assistance on tasks during periods of heavy workloads. It gave me exposure to best practices for methodically carrying out and assigning certain tasks, and an understanding of the standard procedure that Sewtec’s designers must adhere to.
My first responsibility contributed to the detailing and the creation of technical drawings. I began on the simpler parts which required standard lengths and thicknesses with correct views, before moving quickly onto more challenging types of detailing that required the attention of angles, section views and hidden views. Tolerancing was introduced as the final layer of complex drawings, showcasing where the part fits in a general assembly.
With these skills, I could effectively offer support in design work and it allowed me to become familiar with certain aspects and methods of the design process.
A large aspect of my position was issuing parts to production. This covered both my own design or modified versions of other designers, as I was asked by other designers to alter an original design with my own innovative concepts to reach a solution.
I was tasked with designing brackets, pillars, electrical switch mounts and panels and, as these parts were required for future projects, it was my responsibility to ensure they were all ready in a good lead time and for when a machine was to be assembled.
During my time at Sewtec, I was able to contribute to the development of large bespoke automation solutions for global companies in the pharmaceutical and tobacco sectors– an experience which will certainly be a benefit in my future career.
Even though I was an undergraduate, I felt I was given a lot of responsibility by the team at Sewtec. I was tasked with sending bespoke machinery to on-site locations in the Netherlands, as well as completing all the relevant paperwork. Overseeing and ensuring everything had been done correctly stands out as the biggest responsibility I undertook whilst on my placement. I believe giving out responsibility helps build on an employee’s ability and trusting them with important tasks leads to greater work commitment and dedication.
The impetus on working as a team is huge part of what Sewtec does. Design engineers work extremely closely with mechanical fitters and electricians and are always heading to and from the workshops during the assembly process. Having an involvement during the assembly helped reduce the risk of errors and improve the overall quality – all through a collaborative approach.
There were always open and honest discussions across all job roles and departments, allowing for the right solutions to be found for any problems which arose. I was a part of frequent meetings during the design stage of a project, where designers and mechanical fitters would collaboratively discuss options and solutions to move forward with.
Not only did this allow for expert minds to combine, but also built a healthier work relationship – if everyone contributes to the design process there is more of an equal effort.
There was great camaraderie within the workplace, as managing directors, designers and labour force alike have a positive and open-minded attitude that allows newcomers to feel welcome and comfortable when fitting into the company.
During my time at Sewtec, I never felt uncomfortable to ask questions and discuss ideas with the wider team – something which placement year students may have felt at other companies. I always thought my opinion was taken on aboard and that I could offer an input to try resolve any problems.
A bespoke approach to working in engineering
Sewtec is unlike other engineering companies I have experienced. It operates with professional and hardworking employees producing innovative and impressive automation solutions.
In business terms, I believe those working for Sewtec can reap great rewards in the coming future and that the company will compete with the large well-known companies it aims to challenge.
I was pleasantly surprised with the management style of Sewtec. All levels of departments from lead designers to fitters will involve themselves with each other’s work, and designers will often travel on site if problems arise to solve the matter with electricians and mechanical fitters.
All employees have a voice and are able to make suggestions and recommendations rather than blindly being instructed on a task with no questions asked. This is an appealing factor of the company that I saw throughout my time spent at Sewtec.
We’re always on the lookout for new talent who can help us grow our bespoke automation solutions offering. To find out more about job vacancies at Sewtec, visit our careers page.