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Peratech Internships – A path to success

At Peratech, we work hard to inspire and engage all of our fellow colleagues to be the best they can be. How do we do this? We encourage everyone to participate in creating an environment in which all team members can fearlessly form, suggest, and test new ideas. We expect that not all plans will work out, but we do believe in the learning process that turns our failed attempts into accomplishments. Freedom and support to experiment for organisational learning and accepting not every idea is going to succeed - that’s what unleashes real innovation.

This way of thinking extends to our intern programme. We involve interns in challenging meaningful projects but ones that might not succeed as intended. The difference is that in every project, regardless of whether it achieves its goal or not, we set our interns up for success by ensuring they maximise what we learn as a company from the activity. With the right structure, help and clear communication of objectives, we support our interns with the freedom to try new things, provide access to anyone in the company to research their ideas, and reassure them that they can explore their ideas without fear of failure.

Why would we invest so much time and energy to empower interns that we know will leave us? A large part of Peratech's ethos is to help STEM students contribute to the creative technology industry. We know a company is only ever as good as its people, so it makes sense to help people advance their ability to fully employ their skills and understanding from an early stage. If they come to work for us in the future, then they're in a better position to be a productive member of the team much quicker. If they go on to work elsewhere, we hope we've played a part in their success.

The drive to help develop people starts with our CEO, Jon Stark. His enthusiasm for mentorship filters down throughout the entire organisation. Which means every intern gets the benefit of many years of hard-won knowledge, experience, and immersion in the failure-learning process that's available in the company. 

Through Durham University and the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA) we take on several Summer interns every year, and a year-long intern as well. We integrate interns onto our key project teams where they work on solving real-world technical problems that will lead to operational and commercial results. As an example of typical projects, our interns have been instrumental in helping Peratech:

  • Develop test methods for quantifying ink properties and contents
  • Automate analysis techniques for routine testing (using MATLAB)
  • Create FEA and electrical models for sensor actuation and particle distributions (using Ansys/MATLAB)
  • Investigate sensor characteristics using white-light interferometry
  • Review literature for novel sensing technology opportunities

These types of projects help them gain valuable practical skills in analysis, critical thinking, and teamwork - skills that will benefit them through the rest of their education and well into their careers. To date, interns that have been through our programme have gone to work for ARM, Dyson, and NASA. That’s not a bad record!

Traditionally our internships are located at our Head Office, in North Yorkshire. This year COVID-19 forced us to take a new approach, and our interns worked remotely. We've used Microsoft Teams for several years now, and it’s an excellent way for everyone in our company to keep in regular communication. It’s difficult to integrate into a team working remotely as quickly as one would if sitting next to new co-workers. But, having a fluid process, a company culture that understands the nature of collaborating virtually, and knows extra support needed, goes a long way toward integrating people. With this attitude, we slotted our interns almost seamlessly into our way of working. 

Remote working has worked so well for us, we will continue offering remote internships for the foreseeable future. You can find out more about what programmes we're offering, and what previous interns have had to say by visiting the internship page on our website, www.peratech/com/internships.

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