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From internship to full-time job within TMC

An internship with a start-up that is developing a new robot, followed by a job offer in a big international company - isn’t that the dream of every high-tech student? For Bart van Liere and Koen Ruefli this dream became a reality. Both started out as interns with the Throwabot project in the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab (TEL), and became full time Employeneurs soon afterwards.

Throwabot is a project in the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab (TEL) founded by Employeneur Danny Hameeteman. It’s a surveillance robot equipped with camera’s and sensors that can execute dangerous reconnaissance missions for firefighters, police and the military. Eight engineers are working on the project, including four interns. 

‘Experiencing the whole vibe of an international company like TMC is very educational.'

One of the interns was mechatronic engineer Bart van Liere. Bart was tasked with developing the hardware for the new Throwabot prototype. ‘It involved choosing the motors and sensors, how to put the sensors in the casing and deciding on the size and measurements of the casing. In short, the entire mechanical part. I liked it so much that I’m still involved with the project as part of the development team, even though my internship is long finished.’

Employeneur Koen Ruefli also started as an intern at Throwabot and has since transitioned to one of the regulars. ‘My job as an intern was to ensure the robot could handle the blows on its body when it was dropped from a great height. That’s part simulation, part materials science and a lot of statics.’

Both Bart and Koen say they learned a lot from their internship at the TEL. Bart: ‘Experiencing the whole vibe of an international company like TMC is very educational. You can talk to anyone, which really expanded my network.’ For Koen the biggest takeaway was the independent working environment at TEL. ‘The Employeneurs working in the Throwabot project aren’t there during office hours, because they are working on projects for their clients. That means you are basically on your own. I had to make my own planning and every week in the project meeting I had to show my progress. That was pretty challenging.’

‘It’s cool that TMC allows you to make your own career decisions.'

After their internship Bart started working for a company, whereas Koen started a Master’s degree at university. Those choices didn’t really live up to their expectations and after a few months they both contacted TMC with the question whether they could start there as full time Employeneurs. It was taken care of in days. Bart: ‘I called on a Monday, had my job interview on Thursday and that same evening I was hired.’

The independent working environment, the great variety of assignments and the company’s guidance in shaping their career paths is what both Bart and Koen like about TMC. Koen: ‘It’s cool that TMC allows you to make your own career decisions. When I started working I had no idea which in direction I wanted to develop myself. During my first TMC project I got a much better idea of what really interests me and where I want to go. TMC gives you ample space to figure out your next project and to follow courses in order to develop yourself in the direction you choose.’

As a mechanical engineer Koen wants to develop himself in an all-round way to eventually play a role in project management. Bart would like to work in project engineering. ‘Perhaps one day I’ll start a TEL project myself,’ he dreams aloud. ’But it would have to have something to do with robotics. That’s by far the coolest.’

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