Are you familiar with the customary cliché? It’s day one of your first career experience program in a big company in the city and you’re full of eager anticipation. “A chance at last to get a taste of the adult working world,” you’re thinking. However, this quickly gives way to a sense of disillusionment as you suddenly find that you’ve been relegated to the copier and are sorting all the piles of documents your boss has neglected. This is a situation that many school students have surely experienced in the past. And more’s the pity. However, OHB has come up with a great idea for technically minded young people to ensure that career experience programs for school students are really fun and provide an authentic insight into the space industry. The focal point is AIT (Assembly, Integration & Test), the department that deals specifically with the construction of spacecraft and their components. Tim Seidel explains in an interview what the career experience program at AIT looks like and what the prerequisites are. As part of his student internship at OHB, the 20-year-old student of computer science and economics has developed a career experience program for school students in grade nine and higher. Among other things, this also entails building a satellite!
At OHB, we want to arouse talented young people’s interest in the space industry. And career experience programs form an important aspect of this. What do you think is the most important way of arousing true enthusiasm?
Tim Seidel: Enthusiasm is generated when I am surrounded by people who love what they’re doing and when I am working on topics that captivate me. For this reason, we have four different programs at AIT that we offer school students – depending on their interests.
And what do I have to do to get from the classroom to a desk at OHB?
First, there is a skills test in which we test programming knowledge. If you already have a little experience then you have a very good chance of being able to immerse yourself in the AIT world for two or three weeks.
So nobody’s posted to the copier on the first day of the career experience program?
Definitely not. At the beginning of the program, my colleague Ralf Becker accompanies the participants to the mechanical workshop, where the school students build a metal Galileo satellite measuring 20 centimeters in width. The purpose of this is for them to take something tangible home with them. They can show the satellite to their family and friends as proof that the career experience program was really cool.
What happens next?
The participants are now assigned to various teams – such as software, EGSE and alignment. Each school student visits three to four areas to gain as comprehensive an insight as possible. During the career experience program, short tests are held to assess what the participants have learned – all this is done in a relaxing atmosphere of course. At the end of the program, the school student and the supervisor each complete a feedback form as a basis for continuously improving our program.
Why was it that an intern was tasked with drawing up rules for the participants of the career experience program?
So far I have completed two internships at OHB and have worked here on a part-time basis. I kept coming back because I received such strong support from the AIT team. I’m truly grateful to them for this. My dream is to work in the aerospace industry one day. As I was born in Bremen, OHB was the first port of call for me – I’m also fascinated by the family feeling here. So I was simply the right choice for drawing up the set of rules. I’m young and have a very good idea of school students’ needs and wishes. In order to inspire young talents to pursue a career in the space industry, it is important to become better known to young people – we at OHB have to position ourselves even more clearly and show what we stand for. And I hope I can make a small contribution to this.
What do you do when you’re not working on your internship at OHB?:-)
I study computer science and economics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I hope to be able to return to the United States soon. I would like to complete my Bachelor’s degree in three years’ time and then embark on a Master’s course. When I’m not studying, I like to fly. I have a pilot’s license and am a member of the Bremen Aviation Society.
Can you imagine returning to OHB for a fourth time?
It’s possible. But who knows what could happen in the next few years? That and so much more is still in the stars.
Are you interested in an internship at OHB? Then take a look at this page. Good luck and may see you soon!