Why an internship at Volocopter might be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
At any given time of the year, Volocopter employs around 60 interns. While that may seem like quite a high number for an over 500-strong startup, there’s a distinct rhyme to our reason. Allow us to explain: All Volocopter internships last the standard six months – and we endeavor to ensure that all of them come with the possibility of extension. During their time with us, our fresh-faced hires are exposed to a wealth of new experiences, knowledge, and opportunities.
Ripe with opportunity
So exposed, in fact, that we try to involve our interns as much as possible in our day-to-day processes, key events, and any other areas that may be calling out for their support. This allows them to explore the business as a whole and see what sparks their interest. They’re invited to many important meetings and get the chance to interface with key stakeholders. That helps them figure out if they’d like to work in a particular department long-term (should a more permanent role become available).
Meanwhile, cross-departmental teamwork helps them to spread their intern wings and find out exactly what they’d like to be doing going forward, by identifying ways to flourish. Considering the retention rate we’ve observed, we think our internship hiring formula really works. For example, in 2021, 17 students became permanent members of staff, and a glance at the latest figures tell us that that number is forecast to remain just as high by the close of 2022.
Another noteworthy feature of Volocopter internships is that, while many of our interns do stay on in their original department, that’s not always the case. Take Nohemy, who started out in Office Management but has since admirably transitioned into her new role at Quality Management.
Colombian-born Nohemy first joined Volocopter in late 2021. An industrial engineer by training, the new recruit had no aviation background to speak of. But, what she did bring to the Volocopter table were solid transferable skills that she could (and did) apply to a plethora of key duties. Like taking on her own projects, effecting strategic improvements, and organizing the greater Volocopter team. This equipped her with excellent tools to explore the company: to learn about aviation, meet the wider team, and to make a real difference.
Her most cherished projects involved setting up the office desk booking tool, an undertaking that was extended to include COVID-19 office arrangements like testing and vaccination checks for employees and visitors, and ensuring on-site capacities were not exceeded. Nohemy was also responsible for automating many of the manual systems previously in place. What did she enjoy in particular during the office desk booking tool project? That’d be the lack of obstacles she faced given her position as a new intern. In other words, supervisor support was duly available, she met more colleagues than she could count, and she worked more autonomously than she might have at a different company.
“It was an opportunity for me to explore a new industry – one that was a far cry from my days setting up production lines for food manufacturers – and see what doors it could open for me,” she explains. Working at Office Management certainly unlocked networking potential, exposing her to stakeholders inside and outside Volocopter, and enabling her to forge links with multiple departments. This helped her to discover Volocopter in its entirety, and saw her stepping outside the office to tour areas like the hangar and test benches. Does onboarding get any more insightful than this? Probably not.
Though her basic German skills did make conversations with suppliers tricky at times, the team’s energy was so conducive to her professional development that language barriers proved not to be a major deterrent. In fact, the corporate culture is one of the main draws for her – and it still gets her out of bed in the morning today. Like many of her colleagues, English is not her first language – but it is the company’s lingua franca. This opens us up to hiring people who are excellent at what they do but don’t happen to speak German – a hiring condition at many other companies across a nation known for its engineering prowess.
The paid internship experience strengthened Nohemy’s resolve to stay on. And after exploring different avenues, she ultimately found a suitable role as a Quality Project Engineer – while not an entirely new field, the challenge here lay in getting to grips with the processes deployed in aviation. Fortunately, her new supervisor agreed to mentor her on the industry-specific requirements, and she hasn’t looked back since. These days, Nohemy feels she can add plenty of value to the company’s development and even help to shape its progress – real assets as Volocopter ramps up for commercial launch in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Farewells: A part of life
Despite inspiring stories like Nohemy’s, a high proportion of interns do still end up leaving us. However, that’s often because they’re students needing to complete their studies. And while some feedback reveals many would like to stay on, sometimes the right position just isn’t there. Then again, sometimes it’s possible for us to create the right position – business needs permitting, of course.
For those who do choose to pursue different avenues after Volocopter, the benefits still far outweigh the drawbacks. That’s certainly what Aviation & Corporate Safety Risk Manager Emilia believes: “Everything at Volocopter is so fascinating for our interns: they’re always discovering new tools and new ways to improve the status quo.” Like many of her colleagues at the UAM startup, Emilia values her interns so much that their departure is a loss for the entire team: “It’s always a shame because they make a real contribution: they ask the right questions and provide a fresh set of eyes.” This valuable contribution starts with the in-depth onboarding they’re offered, which is no different to the introduction that full-time employees receive upon joining. Another quality Emilia values is her interns’ ability to constantly adapt to change, which makes them a crucial part of the Volocopter workforce.
A worthwhile investment
We value all our interns – which is why we believe in fair compensation for all. Not only does fair compensation motivate our students and new graduates to achieve, it also encourages them to stay on. Or to one day return to us.
Interns work in almost all Volocopter departments, but with business needs prioritized we cannot claim equal distribution. Our Munich-based team, for example, employs comparatively more student interns on its product teams, particularly given their pronounced interest to explore our future-forward flight projects.
Our Talent Acquisition Specialist, Ines, is the bridge that helps us stay connected to our intern alumni. As a former intern herself, she’s more than happy to promote a program she believes in: “Volocopter offers a different intern experience than you might get at a larger company. You’re very much involved in the business from day one. I think it’s an invaluable part of the package,” she says.
We believe our interns are a worthwhile investment. That’s why, despite the associated training efforts, our managers are always on the lookout for new student assistants. However, it’s important to note that those students need to be able to hit the ground running. So, we’re looking for people with the technology knowledge we need, who can build on those skills while they’re here as they help us to change the world for real.
We believe we offer an appealing canvas for our interns to showcase their skills and abilities while adding to their professional repertoires. Plus, given the rich landscape of companies setting up shop in Bruchsal and Munich, we strive to provide fresh inspiration that helps us be (and remain) a cut above in these locations – as well as at our outposts in Paris and Singapore.
Speaking of the Bavarian capital, intern Marwan has been enjoying his experience on the Flight Control Laws team for the past year – ever since he swapped the Egyptian sunshine for his new home in the Alpine-nestled city of Munich.
How did he score such a long internship? That’s thanks to Volocopter’s commitment to internship extensions, as they pertain to our business needs. Marwan is currently writing his master’s thesis and has his sights set on a more permanent role with us come graduation: “I love how interns are given real responsibilities – and they’re expected to produce results. I feel like a valued member of the team, and not just someone who was hired to make the coffee. My colleagues are experts in their fields – and they’re friendly and helpful as well. I do feel I belong here, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me,” he says with a smile.
When Marwan recalls his three previous internships, he believes Volocopter offers a deal that is more aligned with his needs: the right mix of people, a relatively young workforce, and real experts. So, what do Marwan and his top-notch colleagues do? Well, they’re the ones in charge of developing the systems that will be used to operate our crewed (and subsequently autonomous) flights. Their job is to ensure the aircraft remains stable in flight, optimize performance, and unlock new features that will make the pilot’s life easier – and our service more efficient.
Interns in it for the long haul
For some interns, things fall into place gradually. That was the case for Iryna, who, after working at multiple departments, ultimately decided to pursue her newfound passion: vertiports. As the only UAM company to be building its own full-ecosystem strategy, Volocopter is a great place to explore the topic.
The aviation management graduate has seen a fair amount of the company already. After joining us in summer 2021, Iryna rotated through several departments, including Air Operations & Infrastructure. That’s how she developed a real interest in forward-looking vertiport solutions. What appealed to her in particular? How people found answers together and were always happy to lend an ear for her many questions. That’s how she realized that all our interns are encouraged to share their opinions.
Sadly, no suitable position was available once her first Volocopter internship came to an end. But, as luck would have it, another internship had just opened up in Maintenance – a position the department specifically approached her about. This allowed Iryna to further explore the operational side of the UAM company. But in the end, her passion still lay in the future-forward takeoff and landing infrastructure, and so she shifted gears by accepting her current position as Junior Vertiport Operations Specialist. Though the remit might closely approximate the duties of her intern days, she now works much more independently and needs far less guidance than before – that’s certainly a flying start in the urban air mobility industry!
So, what made her pursue a second Volocopter internship? “Doing an internship here felt like a fun university project. You work with dedicated people, and you get the chance to create something from scratch,” she says. Moreover, the Brussels Airlines and European Helicopter Association alumnus had developed a passion for urban air mobility back at university – and was keen to find out more. Crucially, Iryna joined us as a voluntary intern – with prospective applications being a practice Volocopter is very much open to.
Eyes on the prize
And then there’s Jonas. His story is a little different. This former intern first heard about Volocopter back in 2017 – but it would be another three years before he’d find the right position on the close-knit team he’s a part of today, as a vertiport specialist. In this role, he uses the model he developed while working on his master’s thesis to support vertiport project planning efforts.
After accepting a Volocopter internship in 2020, Jonas initially focused on business development strategies for our VoloDrone and VoloIQ products. In fact, he helped shape our VoloIQ digital infrastructure before it even had a name. And even though he isn’t doing exactly the same job today, the internship opened the door to his current role, and he was eager to take the project further: “I was initially drawn to Volocopter’s passion for innovation – and my experience working on small teams was one of the reasons why. At Volocopter, the chance to accept more responsibility, see decisions made fast, and do this against the backdrop of a startup atmosphere were all familiar elements to me. Working here has only reinforced this belief,” says Jonas.
Another key feature of the internship for him was the feedback culture. This essential element for enabling personal growth is something we fully support for all our staff.
But what Jonas likes most of all about his work today is the sheer variety of responsibilities he’s been entrusted with, and the chance to contribute to the bigger picture. And what could be bigger than taking all our target launch cities into account by creating dedicated simulation models? The 26-year-old is also pleased to have achieved so much at this early stage of his career, with colleagues regularly asking for his input and thus allowing him to achieve his full potential.
We want YOU
Think you qualify for an internship? While we appreciate that not everyone has an aviation background, we certainly encourage industry newcomers to consider a career in our branch of this sky-high industry. After all, we want to attract the best people. And, as our intern stories have demonstrated, we believe in the power of transferable skills.
Interested? Here’s what we’re looking for:
+ Are you a current student or recent graduate?
+ Are you studying engineering? Or another business-related discipline?
+ Are you a good fit for the team?
These are just a few of our requirements. If you think we should talk then be sure to browse our latest vacancies, or get in touch with our Talent Acquisition Specialists today by submitting your profile today: firstname.lastname@example.org