News & Insights | Mechatronics Engineering Intern gains an insight into Robotics for the Defence Industry

Mechatronics Engineering Intern gains an insight into Robotics for the Defence Industry

5 June 2024

Luke Nicholas, a final-year Mechatronics Engineering student at Curtin University, applied to the Defence Industry Internship and Graduate Scholarship Program (DIIGS) to gain valuable work experience and access to the program’s many benefits.

This opportunity has provided him with “hands-on, practical experience” through an internship with OLP Robotics, with the placement crucial in helping him determine his future career pathway in the Defence Industry as he nears the completion of his degree.

“This has helped me learn more about the robotics industry and where I would like to have a role within it,” Luke explained.

“This is especially important as I reach the end of the course I am studying where this experience has helped me choose my future career path.”

“From what I have learnt, a career in Defence can offer further support and growth within the engineering industry – careers in Defence can offer multiple connections to different industries and roles that would otherwise be difficult to enter.”

Luke has been grateful for the support he’s received from Programmed Training Services (PTS) throughout his journey, highlighting his Training Coordinator, Merzieh Fabbri, as especially helpful.

“Merzieh has been very supportive – she has been responsive to all questions and queries that I have had throughout this process,” he said.

“PTS have also provided assistance in sourcing further work experience in the industry I am interested in.”

When asked what he would say to other students considering the DIIGS program, Luke says: “The program provides interns an excellent service in assisting with work experience and potential graduate roles while completing your degree – joining DIIGS can offer future connections and experiences to help support your degree and future career paths.”

From an employer’s perspective, Shaleesa Keye, Director of OLP Robotics, strongly supports the DIIGS program in what is a truly mutually-beneficial relationship.

“OLP Robotics’ engagement in the DIIGS program is a great way for us to reach into the upcoming pool of students entering the workforce and look for students who are a good fit in our workplace,” she said.

“With an aim to grow our business, having a steady stream of quality candidates means that hopefully we will find the right person at the right time.

“It has also been beneficial to us as a small business, as we have been able to host students with fields of knowledge outside our own and have them work on valuable projects to develop our business.

“The students come from many different universities and programs, which takes away a huge amount of the recruitment burden for us as a business.

“In addition, the students in the program have already passed an initial selection criteria including an interview process, so we have found that the standard is high – particularly around motivation and attitude.

“The ability to offer a scholarship to students is also a bonus and helps to attract top talent.

“It’s also important to us to invest our time into supporting and developing students as they prepare to enter the early stages of their career.”

One of these students is Luke, with Shaleesa praising his contribution during his placement.

“Luke has been a great addition to the team throughout his placement with us,” she said.

“We have been able to give him a mix of project work and self-paced learning, and have been impressed with his approach, attitude and capabilities.”

Shaleesa is equally full of praise for the support provided to OLP Robotics by PTS – and Merzieh.

“Merzieh and PTS have provided excellent support throughout our participation in DIIGS,” she said.

“PTS/Merzieh visits us regularly to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and we know that we can rely on them for support if we have questions or with handling more difficult challenges.”

“They have also run group sessions where mentor partners can network, share knowledge and experiences, and grow our ability to deliver a worthwhile placement experience.”

This placement experience allows the students to gain a comprehensive insight into what OLP Robotics is all about, Shaleesa explains.

“Students who undertake a placement with us are exposed to all aspects of a job, from understanding the customer needs to development and testing of a solution.

“We also run innovation projects, where students are able to investigate new technologies or concepts. This involves conducting research and speaking to suppliers to determine a successful approach.

“In addition to project work, we also have various software and equipment available for students to learn in a very practical way – which builds valuable skills for their career.”

Shaleesa encourages other employers to join DIIGS, describing it as “truly worthwhile.”

“I would definitely encourage employers to get on board with DIIGS, especially if you’re already intending to host student placements,” she said.

“It has saved us considerable time and energy, and has been a truly worthwhile experience.”

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