Louise’s more unlikely achievements in life include victory in a dance contest at a Gothenburg music club. Not only that, she’s convinced she would’ve become a great violinist – if only someone had given her a violin. Meet Engineer Louise Lindberg, a Graduate in the 2016 Volvo Mechanical Engineering Programme.
Louise really wanted to become a dolphin handler. Or a doctor. Or maybe a lawyer. However, her mother was an engineer and seemed to have a lot of fun at work, so Louise opted to take a Master’s degree in Product Development at Linköping University instead. There’s no crime in changing your mind is there?
Cats or dogs?
“If I’d rather be a cat or a dog, you mean? Then I’d say cat, every day of the week. I’d just get annoyed if people threw my stuff around all the time and expected me to fetch it. I have grown up with cats. They seem to know how to enjoy life, and that’s more my style.
Right now I’m enjoying getting to grips with my first real job, at Volvo Cars, which is also a fantastic education. Can things get any better?
I heard a lot of positive things about the programme before applying, and when one of my friends who was already in the programme told me how good it was, I decided I had to give it a shot. When I eventually heard I’d been accepted, I was so happy!”
An intense start
Louise recalls her first induction day on the programme, a year ago. She’d done her Master thesis at Volvo and worked at the company during the summer, so although things were familiar, this was a new challenge. Selected from roughly five-hundred applicants, Louise felt the pressure. “I was extremely nervous. Besides that I’d bought a new pair of shoes and got the most terrible blisters!
But after being introduced to my managers and the department where I’d be based, everything felt great. It was also excited to meet other fellow graduates based here, a fantastic bunch of people with similar background and interests as me, and in the same phase of life.
It was everything I’d hoped for and expected, if not more. What could be better than working alongside a group of talented, knowledgeable, inspiring people and learning new things each day in an open climate in which everyone truly collaborates? The tasks and assignments you’re given are genuine, and nothing is made up. Right now, I’m working with the graduate group on developing and testing different lighting concepts for our new cars. We’ve been given 10 weeks in total, and a fairly free rein to work with.”
On her way
Louise outlines the biggest lessons she’s learned and her most important experiences after her first year:
“The security and self-confidence to make your mark, without a doubt. The programme set-up and the faith our managers place in us ensures everybody is developing. This helps spark even more energy, which I’m happy to share. I just want everyone to enjoy their work as much as I do, and I really try to motivate my colleagues. If you feel good, you work better – this is the style of leadership I want to embrace.”
Returning to her home department
“My home department is Mechanical Integration. We work on assembling vehicle models before they enter production to ensure all of the components are compatible. We also handle compliance with legal requirements and ensure the cars are balanced and ergonomically sound. After completing the programme, I’ll return here. However, before that I’ll be rotating around different departments in the company. I’m really looking forward to see and learn more about various areas of the company and also working abroad.”
No more Sunday night blues
“I’ve promised myself to always have fun at work, look forward to going in and feel that I can contribute. With this in mind, I think I’ll be here at Volvo for a long time. When I tell people I work for Volvo, I feel a real sense of pride. I feel like I could work here for a lifetime without getting bored. I’ve met people who’ve been here for over 30 years and still have the same passion for their work. Right now, it’s hard to say exactly where I’ll end up and what I’ll be working with.
I’m also interested in the big changes under way in the automotive sector, and how these affect car ownership. Moving forward, the idea of owning a car will become part of the past, and my grandchildren will probably laugh at me when I tell them our generation were forced to drive their cars themselves! When it comes to economics, we simply have to think in circular rather than linear terms.
I’m keen to be involved throughout this journey, not least when it comes to the key issue of sustainability. Volvo does well on this score already, but there’s always room for improvement. I really hope to be part of and contribute to this process in the future.”
So what about that dance contest?
Winning a dance contest with no sense of rhythm is quite an achievement, and Louise has her own theory.
“Yep, it was totally unbelievable. What were they thinking!? I think I won because I put so much enthusiasm into my dance moves, which may or may not have been in time to the music! A little energy and will power can take you a long way. Just imagine if I’d been given that violin I was always asking for as a child!”
Louise describes the Mechanical Engineering Programme in three words:
“That’s easy: Exciting, Challenging and Supportive.”
What’s the best thing about working at Volvo Cars?
“Embracing the Volvo values one-hundred per cent. I feel a real sense of pride when I tell people I work here. Choosing Volvo Cars as my employer is the best decision I ever made.”
Do you have any hidden talents you want to reveal?
“I am a master at guessing charades in no time.”