My Experience Interning at RS Components
Here’s why I believe this is one of the most interesting and promising companies to work at as a millennial.
There are a lot of stereotypes about millennials that seem to be endlessly perpetuated through media, mostly about how we as a generation are lazy and entitled. In fact, when you start to type “Millennials are….” into a search engine like Google, here are some of the top results:
There is a lot of literature out there about why all of these stereotypes are shockingly inaccurate, but the misinformation is largely detrimental to millennials when being faced with the twofold threat of a job market that never fully recovered after the late 2000s recession and the bias held by many recruiters.
In May I was taking a trip to New York with my friends to celebrate my birthday. I received a call from Cameron Ward, the head of ICE, telling me that there was a possibility for me to spend the summer in London working for the Innovation team. I was given no job description, no formal title, no real information at all… But I was promised that no two days would be exactly alike and that the team was doing really cool things that I would get to be a part of, so I didn’t hesitate to say yes immediately!
By June I had my first interaction with the person who would later be my supervisor, Janine McNab. Speaking to her about the exciting projects that the Innovation Team would be working on got me even more excited and less than 3 weeks later I had packed up my bags, bought a plane ticket, and left everything and everyone I know for the best part of 3 months.
Upon arriving at the office, I was given a tour and sat down with Mike Brojak, Head of iLabs, as he told me a little more about the company as a whole, as well as the specific goals of the Innovation Team. We chatted a little about ourselves and what our goals and expectations were – also more logistical matters like what I would be comfortable doing/what I would like to be doing. I felt confident that I would fit in well with the environment the team was trying to create, and even the office space itself felt inviting.
And the neighbourhood wasn’t too shabby either!
To get me settled in to the company and to give me a taste of the direction the Innovation team are hoping to take things, Mike invited me to accompany him to various places outside of the office – in fact I got the chance to visit both the Austella office in Ascot to discuss plans for the new office and the Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge to attend some panels on innovation in security systems. Though they were two vastly different environments, they both gave invaluable insight into the ever-expanding world of innovation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to test drive a Mercedes… maybe next time!
Fantastic display at Mercedes-Benz World
Real-life 'VR' horse at Austella
Once I was adequately settled in, I was tasked with creating an “Innovation Portal” – somewhere that anyone from the business can submit an idea for how the business can improve the way it does things, specifically through the use of horizon technologies like AI, IoT, and AR. I have experience working at other tech companies and I have honestly never seen an approach that is so forward-thinking and comfortable with the idea of disruption – it’s honestly so refreshing, and solidifies my belief that RS Components understand that in the age we’re in, you are either a disrupter or you are disrupted.
Here’s a pic of the team trying out the RS AR app that was in Beta testing during the summer:
And one of me touring the Nuneaton facilities with a few other members of the team to see what new technologies we can implement to make it more of a “smart” warehouse. The bit about millennials loving selfies might be true…
Although I had other projects throughout the summer (like helping with the comms for the tech behind the new London office and publicising the RS AR App), the Portal really was my baby in many ways and I was thrilled to have something like that to work on. I have no formal training or academic knowledge of the software I used to create the portal (or any of the design elements for it) and to be fully honest I learned almost everything from YouTube or wiki guides… but do you know what? That’s part of why I had such a good experience. RS realises that millennials are the generation born into the age of the Internet and are some of the most crafty and resourceful people out there.
By the time the summer was over I felt as though I was a part of something greater than myself – part of a team, an organization… a movement; a movement that is thrusting RS headfirst into the modern age as a leader in innovation. Fortunately, the story doesn’t end here. I was offered the chance to continue my work for RS Components on a part-time basis while I complete my studies back here in Montreal, and I’m hoping to go back to London in the summer.
All this to say: take a chance, accept a job with no description, move to another city… sometimes you’ll be surprised at what can happen! And thank you to RS for taking a chance on this Canadian millennial.