17.03.2022 | Trainee at Axpo: Felipe Vielba Gómez
Felipe Vielba Gómez gained his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at ETH in Zurich and started his career as a trainee in Project Management Nuclear at Axpo in October 2020. Following his first and second assignment in Asset Management and at the nuclear power plant Beznau, he is now working on his final assignment as a project manager at the nuclear power plant in Leibstadt. Over the course of his traineeship Felipe was able to work on projects independently, in a team and from a portfolio perspective and had the chance to learn a lot from experienced experts.
Felipe Vielba Gómez
Function: Trainee Project Management Nuclear
Background: Msc in Mechanical Engineering at ETH
Assignments: Asset Management Core, Project planning Beznau nuclear power plant, Nuclear power plant Leibstadt
Why did you start your traineeship at Axpo?
I have always been interested in the energy sector for several reasons: its role in the fight against climate change, the power market and its intriguing evolution, its political importance, the science behind the different technologies and the vital importance in the everyday life of people. This is why I decided to focus on Energy Science during my studies. I had attended a lecture organized by Axpo and got to know about its prominent role – both nationally and internationally – in an energy sector undergoing a profound transformation. The trainee program is a good opportunity to gain experience in the technical area, the subject area and overall insight into the evolution of the energy sector.
What are the benefits of a traineeship from your perspective?
As a trainee, I have experienced great variety on three different rotations in the nuclear division. I really value the learning from the different projects and experts I have encountered in such a short amount of time. I have enjoyed learning about the way the company operates, building a cross-divisional network and taking a deep dive into project management, which was the focus of my traineeship. Not least, I made the most of events for the trainee community and other Axpo employees.
Can you tell us more about the different rotations and projects during your traineeship?
My rotations were within the nuclear division, and they were all very different from each other.
During my first assignment in the Asset Management division, I worked on the centralization and procurement of necessary data for key performance indicators of nuclear power plants (NPP); on the development and adoption of interactive reports in Power BI in the framework of Nuclear 4.0; on the portfolio monitoring and study of emerging nuclear energy technologies and their deployment around the world; and on the decommissioning planning of the NPP Beznau. During this rotation, I learned a lot about the nuclear sector from the perspective of an asset manager.
During my second rotation in a nuclear power plant, the focus was on gaining experience as a sub- and project manager. I worked on developing, integrating, and interfacing a cloud solution software within the existing KKB IT infrastructure; I also kept on working on streamlining the exchange of information and reporting processes within the Lean team; I introduced the mobile device management software for tablets in the NPP; and I worked on a monitoring software and its interfaces to the network.
Now in my last assignment at Leibstadt nuclear power plant, I am working at the PM Office at KKL. I am contributing to the project portfolio handbook for the organization of the new project department, where the project management methods and process models are described based on international standards. For the project portfolio, we are developing a tool to visualize, steer and plan it. I also have the opportunity to participate in a plant modification process. During this rotation, I am broadening my knowledge on process, project, and portfolio management.
What mark did you leave behind during your traineeship? What is your “footprint”?
I have worked on several initiatives to push the digitalization and new ways of working, which have had positive impact within the nuclear division.
On the flipside, I am grateful for the mark that different people have left on me, allowing me to grow personally and professionally.
What is a typical day at work as a trainee at Axpo (highlights of your working day)?
Due to the variety of work, it is difficult to describe a typical day at Axpo. However, there are some common threads: the planning of projects, working on their deployment, pushing them forward, contacting internal and external people and developing tools. I perform a relatively wide range of activities from which I learn something new every day and with which I can make an impact.
What was something you didn’t know before you started working at Axpo?
During the traineeship I have deepened the knowledge I acquired at university, and I have observed first-hand what the challenges ahead of us are. It is fascinating to see how every area of the company is interconnected and how each influences the market. It is when you enter a specific area of the company that you get to know the daily challenges and opportunities that go with it, and you can apply a similar thinking process to other areas. There is still a lot to learn and discover which motivates me to keep working hard.
What can you apply in your daily work that you learned at university?
For me, it is the open mindedness and eagerness to learn new things, which helps me tackle new tasks. Also, the way to approach challenges and the structured thinking to dissect problems and apply different strategies to solve them.
What do you recommend to graduates for their career start?
I would recommend you use the chance to explore the areas that interest you and go the extra mile so that you can benefit from the experience that is offered to you. During this time, you can gain understanding of your strengths, areas for improvement and interests, so that you can determine your future goals. By working hard and teaming up with your network you can achieve them.
Did Felipe’s experience with his traineeship at Axpo spark your curiosity? You can find more information about the traineeship here. We look forward to hopefully meeting you during the recruitment process!