A summer at Steerprop links theory to practice

Krista Kuusela, 25 years old, from Rauma and Erik Korhonen, 24, originally from Oulu, worked with us as trainees in the summer of 2023. Both are now in their final stages of studies; Krista is studying to become an electrical and automation engineer at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences and Erik is studying at the University of Oulu, majoring in mechanical engineering with a focus on machine design. We have spoken to them to hear more about how they experienced working at Steerprop during this past summer.

Krista had been looking for a suitable summer job in electrical design, an area in which she hadn’t worked previously. She had, however, some experience from working in the maritime industry previously, and thanks to the summer job at Steerprop, she got to consider maritime regulations a bit more from an electrical angle and learned to understand what standards needed to be applied, and how:

My goal was to accumulate skills and experience in the realm of design, I expected to learn something new, and these expectations were very much fulfilled – I have learned a lot this summer!

Just as Krista, Erik was also looking for practical work experience within his field of studies, i.e. in the field of mechanical design:

"Before sending in my job application, I had never heard of Steerprop. After researching their website, I got the impression that quality really matters at this company. This impression proved to reflect the reality at Steerprop very much; things aren't done just “well enough”, but as well as they possibly can be.

My goal was to gain practical experience in the field of mechanical design, and my expectations were certainly both met and exceeded. I was surprised by how much I actually got to do. I've heard stories about summer interns at other companies that only got to run someone else's errands. At Steerprop, that really wasn't a concern; I could independently handle my tasks within projects.

Both Erik and Krista were pleasantly surprised by how diverse their work during the summer was. They both got to work independently within various design projects and with different tasks. Krista conducted small-scale research, created guidelines for production, and provided instructions related to electrical safety. Erik, for his part, handled various tasks in mechanical design, designing components and tools, performing calculations and creating drawings.

"I do see the potential to work in the marine industry, perhaps in propeller design, says Krista Kuusela.
"I do see the potential to work in the marine industry, perhaps in propeller design, says Krista Kuusela.

"It was surprising how extensive the tasks were; I didn't expect the work to be so diverse, which was, of course, a very positive experience, Krista says.

"The best part was that my work was needed and put to use, allowing me to delve deeper into electrical standards and to gain a broader understanding of electric motors," she continues.

One of Erik’s main takeaways from the summer was noticing how well the theoretical studies at university corresponded to actual practical work. Nevertheless, he also learned a lot during the trainee period. Looking back at some of the most beneficial learnings, he explains:

"Perhaps the best part was learning through independent work. From a future designer's perspective, the most interesting aspect was getting a closer look inside devices, understanding what's there, and how everything operates", he says.

Erik Korhonen continues to work part-time at Steerprop remotely from Oulu, alongside his studies.
Erik Korhonen continues to work part-time at Steerprop remotely from Oulu, alongside his studies.

Almost everything learned during the summer will surely be beneficial. Especially the manufacturing stages of components, their manufacturability and assembly sequences provided new insights that have not been extensively covered within my studies. Additionally, I hadn't done much project-oriented work before, but now I have a solid foundation in that area too.

Both Krista and Erik highly appreciated the positive work environment at Steerprop, the supportive colleagues, and the learning opportunities their respective roles provided. They have both gained valuable insights that they believe will be useful in their future careers.

"The work environment and colleagues were really pleasant. My supervisor was fantastic, providing guidance throughout the summer, not just at the beginning of the internship. The overall atmosphere in the office was calm and relaxed, making work enjoyable", Krista says.

"It was a very nice summer in terms of work. Everyone was approachable, always ready to help. The team spirit was excellent; conversations flowed, and everyone made sure no one was left behind when heading out for lunch or coffee. We also spent time together outside work, so I guess my colleagues now count as new friends", Erik adds.

Neither Erik nor Krista have definite plans for the future, except for finishing their studies, but both could, based on their positive experience at Steerprop, consider a career within the maritime industry:

"I haven’t thought about or decided on my future career path; I'm interested in everything in my field of studies. However, I do see the potential to work in the marine industry, perhaps in propeller design", says Krista.

"I'll continue working part-time at Steerprop remotely from Oulu, alongside my studies. Other than that I haven’t really had the time to think any further into the future. However, my experience this summer has definitively confirmed my initial thoughts about wanting to work with cutting-edge product development. Whether it's in the maritime industry, forest industry, or something in between, time will tell", Erik continues.

All in all, Krista and Erik had a rewarding and enriching summer. At Steerprop they found a supportive environment for professional growth. Their experiences were characterized by meaningful work, a positive workplace culture, and the opportunity to bridge theoretical knowledge with practical application.

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