We spoke with Swinburne student Afnan Siddique about how a work integrated learning placement helped kickstart his career in robotics.
Afnan says the unbeatable Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experience he enjoyed was the main reason for ending up in his current job.
“I’m from Bangladesh and have been completing my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with Swinburne University of Technology while working flexibly with Bosch Australia Manufacturing Solutions (BAMS) – the robotics and automation section of Bosch Australia – as a robotics engineer,” Afnan says.
“I moved from my home country in 2019 to gain a high-quality education, be closer to my niece (who lives in Melbourne) and experience Melbourne’s renowned public transport network.”
Taking Swinburne learning to work
Afnan says he chose Swinburne’s Mechanical Engineering degree because it seemed to have a good balance of theoretical and hands-on education.
“I researched the graduate employment statistics on QS World University Rankings which highlighted Swinburne as a top university, so that gave me more confidence about my degree choice.
“While completing my five-year degree, I was Lead Powertrain Engineer for Team Swinburne Formula SAE - Swinburne’s Electric Racing team. Being on the team had me using a lot of computer-aided design (CAD), simulation and manufacturing scenarios, which went hand-in-hand with the mechatronics nature of my role at BAMS.”
Afnan explains that he started off with BAMS as a Solutions Engineering student as part of his WIL and decided to put his studies on hold to gain that work experience.
“A lot of the things I have been learning at Swinburne and tools I’ve been using with the Swinburne Formula SAE team have applied to my role with BAMS. But I’ve learned a huge amount actively and passively from the engineers, tradespeople and associates I’ve been exposed to at BAMS. I would definitely recommend getting this hands-on experience during your degree.”
So, what do I do, you ask?
“I’m an engineer in the Robotics, Vision and Process Engineering team at BAMS and work with other engineers to design, program and commission robotic and vision systems, and make sure the whole manufacturing line works together.“
Afnan has learned about the individual components that come into play in his team. A Robotics Engineer writes instructions for an industrial robot arm to perform a vast range of commands in a manufacturing line.
Vision Engineers design, program and commission vision systems that help the machine ‘see’ products in a manufacturing line to identify, sort and influence them.
And a Process Engineer designs and simulates overall processes in a manufacturing line. During the integration of mechanical design, software design, electrical design and robotics and vision design, a Process Engineer makes sure the different sections come together seamlessly.
“If they don’t, a Process Engineer makes changes and modifications to make it all work together,” says Afnan.
“So I kind of have a mix of all these roles in a way – being in the Robotics, Vision and Process Engineering Team.”
“In my previous role as a Solutions Engineer with BAMS, along with gaining teamwork and communication skills, I have been collecting customer requirements and then designing, simulating and costing concept solutions,” Afnan says.
How did Swinburne help me?
Afnan speaks fondly of the Student Success team members at Swinburne who supported him with preparing for his WIL interview.
“The employability team at Swinburne were instrumental in my success. They spent time preparing me for my interviews with BAMS.
“I thought I was well-prepared until I had a mock interview and that truly set me up for success.”
Securing a job
Afnan has made significant achievements as a result of his WIL experience with BAMS.
Towards the end of his Solutions Engineering role (WIL placement), he decided he liked the robotics and simulation side the most and approached his Robotics Team Leader and Engineering Manager and expressed his interest in moving into the robotics team.
Afnan was offered a position and now works as a part-time robotics engineer during the semester and full-time during semester breaks.
“I’m being given amazing flexibility and support by my managers to complete my studies with Swinburne,” Afnan says.
“My team leader worked with me to set up my hours so I’m able to complete my studies over the next year and a half. He also gave me the option to move my hours around flexibly with due notice as university deadlines pop up.
“This saves me a lot of stress and means I can focus more on study some weeks and focus more on delivering work projects other weeks.”