Brent Van Passen
How did you find your way to Umicore?
In 6th-year secondary school, electricity, I did a two-week work placement. I live in Kruibeke, so with the ferry the Hoboken site is nearby. Plus my godfather already worked at Umicore as an electrician. The following summer I had a month-long holiday job there. Finally, I decided to do my 7th-year placement at Umicore as well. So for a whole school year I gained practical experience in the company on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the rest of the week I was still in the classroom. I opted for this specialization year after my vocational secondary education because it’s very practical. It mostly consists of practical subjects, whereas other options are far more theoretical.
Can you describe your current position at Umicore?
As an electrical technician, I work on everything to do with electrical maintenance of process installations. Automation (sensors, motors, etc.) regularly comes up, too.
What do you like about your job?
Definitely the variety! No two days are the same. It’s rare that you come across a particular problem a second time very soon. The fact that I never work in one fixed place is part of this too - you work in the various production departments, in the workshop, sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, and so on. So I have built up a lot of experience in a wide variety of subjects.
What do you like about working at Umicore?
I like working at Umicore because it’s such a big company and so you come into contact with different processes and installations. Because the site is so big we can use a pool bike system. I like going round to the various assignments for the day this way. And despite the fact that it’s such a big company, the atmosphere among colleagues is really friendly and it’s nice working here.
What do you look forward to when you set off to work in the morning?
Working with my colleagues! I work in a great team, where we try to resolve problems as well as possible together. Everyone gets the chance to give their opinion and contribute ideas.
What has been the highlight of your time at Umicore so far?
Every time we bring a new installation into service, after we’ve tested everything from top to bottom. It gives you a lot of satisfaction when everything finally works perfectly.
Any advice for newcomers?
I’d advise everyone to be open to feedback from people with experience. What you learn at school is just a basis. If you are open to advice from experienced colleagues, you can learn a lot more!