Finding the right work experience is one of the best ways to boost your employability skills and to big yourself up on your CV. Saskia Godley told us about her work experience as a CAD engineer at Optilan – a telecoms systems integration company based in the West Midlands.
“I thought long and hard about what type of work experience I wanted to do. I had just one week so I wanted to gain as much experience as possible in those few days to improve my employability skills.
“For the last few years I have been very interested in both art and engineering and I wanted to find a role which combined these. I also wanted to experience something interesting which would test all of my skills and force me to learn new things.
“I decided that I would like to spend my work experience week as a junior CAD engineer at Optilan, which is a telecommunications system integrations company which provides *turnkey communication systems and is based in Coventry. During my work experience week with Optilan my IT skills were certainly tested – from learning the basics of CAD software, to drawing my own 3D documents!
“I wanted to have a work experience role which was fun, but which also drew on my strengths. Working within a team-focused organisation like Optilan showed me how important it is that everyone works together.
“One team would think up the initial idea for what the requirements would need to cover, and then another team would sketch out an initial design. Then the CAD team produced the design accurately, with each line and degree being measured precisely. The drawing was then sent to the workshop team, where they built, wired and tested the equipment. If the customer is not happy, the teams must redesign and rebuild – my work experience taught me that getting it wrong is costly!
“My work experience helped me to decide on what type of engineering I would like to do as a career – and it involves art, which is one of my other interests. I was introduced to all aspects of the job and I met a lot of new people who seemed to thoroughly enjoy their work.
“I learned how the CAD drawn solutions are engineered by the Wiring Team, and also about the basic design scenarios done by the engineers. I also got lots of support in my work experience from the CAD team who walked me through the projects step-by-step and ensured that I was confident before letting me work on the designs myself.
“I plan to take my CAD interests further after completing my work experience. I am considering doing an apprenticeship and then perhaps go on to work full time as a CAD engineer.”
Check out our Careerometer to see whether you’d be interested in becoming a CAD technician or a CAD engineer.
*A turnkey product or service is one that is designed, built, supplied or installed and is ready to operate.