Thursday, 25 July 2013

CAD Technician Internship

I started an internship on the 15th of July 2013, as a CAD technician with a company that designs and manufactures solenoids and solenoid valves. The first week was just induction and introducing me to the workings of the place. This week I got down to the nitty gritty of the job.I was doing a spreadsheet for bill of materials and sorting out what parts needed new part numbers and drawings. I'm working with the Engineering manager and his co-workers in the office. I have my own computer in my cubicle. Previously I had worked for companies like this on the machines on the factory floor. My current situation makes a pleasant change. It's nice to be upstairs in a quiet office, rather than down on the factory floor where it can get quite noisy and the pressures of keeping machines running, parts within tolerance and getting parts finished by their deadline can all enhance the stress levels.
It is a Job Bridge internship. For those that don't know, job bridge is essentially an initiative to get long-term unemployed and youth unemployed back into the workforce. I work for the company for a defined period of time, as a trainee, and the Social Welfare increase my benefit by €50 per week. The company gets me for free. It might not sound fair at first, but learning on the job is better training than any college or Fás course. So when my internship is up, if the company don't wish to employ me, I will still be more employable and will most likely be able to get a good reference from them. It will also improve my C.V. For anyone outside of Ireland reading this, Fás is the Training and Employment Authority in Ireland (Foras áiseanna saothar).
I finally got to use CAD today. I have AutoCAD 2013, while some of the employees on the other end of the office have AutoCAD2000. Everyone will be upgraded in the office eventually. Speaking of upgrades, I'll be getting the engineering manager's computer when his new computer is installed. The one I'm on at the moment is old stock, brought back into service to get me up and running. The manager's is a better one than what I have and so AutoCAD will run better on it. There is barely enough memory to run it on my current one so it's slow and freezes momentarily on occasion. So I'm looking forward to getting a more powerful machine when the new computers are up and running.
When we finished sorting the revisions for the new solenoid designs, the next task was to give certain components new part numbers. This also meant that new drawings were needed. It was merely a case of taking the old versions of the components and modifying them and saving them as new files with new part numbers. The real pressure is getting them done in time for next week's deadline.The solenoids have industry-specific requirements and that is why they needed to be different specifications to the standard production models.
So far it is a very interesting job and a great learning experience. At the moment I'm not expected to know everything. This makes it a good working environment and I have the confidence of knowing I won't be looked down on if I need help. My boss tells me there is no such thing as a stupid question. I'm encouraged to ask so that I can learn. It is nice to be in that situation. Most paid jobs expect a new employee to know what they're doing immediately and training is minimal at best. So, overall I'm in a good place to learn and gain experience.
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