Week of Career | Bert van Kolthoorn

Did you know that you work an average of 90,000 hours of your life? All the more vital is that you do work that suits you and that makes you happy. Even if you have a great time, you can think about your future. You do this by constantly developing yourself, so you keep up and grow with the changing labor market or your employer.

One of our colleagues, Bert van Kolthoorn, is actively engaged in his development and growth within AWL. In this interview, he would like to tell you more about his career trajectory.

Bert, tell me, when did you start at AWL, and what was your position then?
"I started as an electrician on May 1, 2013. I expressed that I would like to grow to an engineering or programming position at my job interview. For that, I needed a college degree, but I didn't have one. AWL proposed to start as an electrician and, over time, to look together at growth opportunities. For example, we looked at which training I could do best and what training I could follow."

And then, how did it go from here?
"I have worked for several years, with great pleasure, in production as an electrician. I learned a lot from that. At that time, I was also able to orient myself to other positions within AWL. For example, I learned on the sidelines what a PLC and robot programmer does, and at the same time, I became more interested in the function of a hardware engineer. But I would also need a college degree for this."

"At the end of 2018, a vacancy became available that was specifically aimed at electricians. AWL was looking for someone with experience on the work floor and wanted to grow into a hardware engineer. I didn't need a college degree for this, so I decided to apply. I wasn't sure if it would be something for me; it's quite a step and completely different from my current position. As an electrician, you don't work much behind a computer, and as a hardware engineer, you do that full-time. Despite some doubt, I went for it anyway, but I wasn't the only one interested. After all kinds of tests, internally and externally, a colleague was given this position. But AWL indicated that if the same vacancy were to arise in the future, they would be the first to think of me."

"After this procedure, together with my manager, I started to investigate which training and education would be interesting for me to increase my chances of growing within AWL. We ended up with Industrial Automation and Robotics. This education allowed me to grow into a robot and PLC programmer as well as a hardware engineer."

"Unexpectedly, in the spring of 2019, the vacancy of hardware engineer became vacant again. I once again expressed my interest at AWL. In August 2019, I made the switch, and I was allowed to call myself a hardware engineer. For this, I still had a lot to learn internally, so I chose not to start with a higher professional education next to it."

And glad you made this switch?
"Super happy! I have grown into a new challenging position, and I like that."

Do you have any tips for your colleagues?
"Yes, discuss your ambitions with your manager. I experienced it as positive that my manager gave me the freedom to grow within AWL and has thought along in the steps I had to take for this."

"AWL is truly a company that encourages you to continue to develop and grow."

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