A Year in Industry: Jofran Gonzalez

Posted on May 6th, 2020

As part of our commitment to providing learning and development opportunities for students about to embark on their careers, Walker Filtration welcomed Jofran Gonzalez to our Technical department as a Research Student.

We caught up with Jofran, who joined Walker Filtration from Teesside University as part of his third-year industrial placement, to see how he is enjoying his time with us so far.

What are you currently studying?

I am studying Chemical Engineering at Teesside University Middlesbrough Campus. I have been pursuing this degree for many years in three different countries, having to start over again from scratch twice, but always with passion and determination towards my goals and objectives.

What made you decide to do a year in industry placement?

I decided to spend a year in industry because I wanted to acquire new skills and knowledge, such as improving my cognitive skills, having a real impact on businesses and people with my performance and safety measures, and learning how to solve problems in a more efficient and organised way.

What was it that attracted you to Walker Filtration?

During my preparation for my job interview, I was very impressed with Walker Filtration’s customer focused approach and commitment to excellence and that the company is a leader in the industry. The challenging environment that the company portrayed looked like it would give me the perfect opportunity to acquire many new skills in a very short time, providing me with a chance to test my capabilities beyond the academics.

What has your experience been like so far?

I have had an incredible experience at Walker Filtration so far; the challenges, rewarding results, the amazing team and the skills that I have obtained completely exceeded my expectations.

I have been challenged by a complex project, where all the solutions that I devised for the current manufacturing process required significant changes and the tight deadlines allowed me to work under pressure and to plan and organise my steps accordingly in order to meet my objectives. This allowed me to learn how to approach problems in a more efficient way, the importance of following safety measures, how to work in a team, be an active listener and put communication skills into practice. I’ve also learnt how to adapt quickly to a new environment and a new culture, and how to use unsuccessful results as opportunities to learn and grow as a person and as a professional.

The culture in the company is fantastic. It is a very dynamic environment where improving and growing is a never-ending process, while having the freedom of exploring my own ideas and creativity. It is a very motivational environment where people believe in you and what you are capable of.

What have you been working on?

I have been working in the Technical department in the area of Research and Development, where I have been given the opportunity to manage my own project. I am putting my Engineering skills into practice by finding and optimising efficient and environmentally friendly solutions to the current manufacturing process, as well as following protocols and safety procedures on site.

I am looking into optimising a new manufacturing process and produce a working prototype to develop a new range of products. This will be achieved by collecting data and demonstrating consistent results and performance of the prototype.

Where do you see yourself after you’ve completed your studies?

After I graduate, I can see myself working confidently in a position where I will have responsibility and challenges to deliver important, positive results for the benefit of my customers, the business and the environment. More specifically, I think that I would fit very well into a Process Engineer or Project Engineer position, so I can continue developing skills and achieving objectives that can help me to progress in my career. .

Finally, what is the best thing about working at Walker Filtration?

Interacting with my colleagues and managers provides me with the opportunity to enjoy my time in the department beyond the technical nature of the job. Walker Filtration has a great team that welcomes you from day one. I feel a completely different person compared to who I was before I started my placement; I feel more confident, capable, skilful, and ready for whatever challenge is thrown at me, and I would not have achieved such a level of confidence if I was not surrounded by the incredible people that I have been working with for the last few months.

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