"A job close to home and a positive atmosphere in the team, that's what everyone wants!"
Olen | Friday, March 25, 2022
Michiel is one of the more than 60 operators in our electrolysis department. He appreciates most that he learns new things every day and likes the new clear work schedules.
- Michiel Coolkens
- 23 years
- Technical operator in the tankhouse department
- Works for Aurubis Olen since 2018
- How did you get in touch with Aurubis Olen?
When I graduated, I first did some interim jobs, and then I came across a vacancy at Aurubis. As a student I had already done holiday work here, so I knew the company. I was immediately convinced to apply. I myself was born and raised in Olen, so a job close to home in a company that I already knew and where I felt at home, was an instant hit for me. “The copper factory of Olen” is a fixed value in the region, so you are also in the right place in terms of job security.
- You work as a technical operator in the electrolysis department: what does that mean exactly?
Do you have some time, because that's a whole bunch! As a technical operator you actually have a very varied range of tasks. Every day looks different, because you don't do the same task every shift. And that's the nice thing about it. A plan is made in advance, and you know what you will be doing that working day.
The copper is actually 'extracted' in the electrolysis department. Our hall consists of basins with liquid in which the anodes are suspended, which have been poured in our smelter, one of the other departments on the company. In these basins, the copper is further purified and grows on an electrode, thus creating a copper cathode. This growth takes a week. As an operator, you provide the necessary support to ensure that the process runs smoothly. For example, we use infrared cameras to detect short circuits and then fix them. That task is called “searching”. But that is only one of the tasks that you do as an operator. Other tasks include emptying the basins once the anodes have run out, after about three weeks. Yet another task is driving the forklift to transport cathodes. Or solving malfunctions in the installations. And I could go on and on (laughs)!
- What do you like most about your job as a technical operator?
Solving technical faults appeals to me the most. I am trained as an electrician, so that certainly helps me, but I learned most of the skills on the job here. I have to admit that I was quite impressed by “the anciens” when I started here as a newbie. Some colleagues have been working here for more than 20 or 30 years. And now, after three years, I have experienced how great it is to work with them. I can learn so much from them, and they are happy to help you get started in the hall. Being able to learn from them in practice and in that way grow as an operator, I find that very pleasant.
- Do you feel at home here at Aurubis Olen?
Wholeheartedly yes! I work in a very cool team with a true mix of generations. We work in a shift system with early, late and weekends. And if you have to work for a weekend that doesn’t suit you, there is always a colleague willing to change. Before corona we went for drinks together after work, so I'm looking forward to doing that again in the summer.
- What appeals to you most about Aurubis Olen?
The growth opportunities. I started here as a third operator. That is a kind of basic package of tasks, so to speak. And then you get the chance to learn extra tasks and grow to second operator. Extensive internal training is provided for this. I myself am now the second operator. And now I have the opportunity to grow even further to become the first operator. Personally, I really enjoy learning every day, and gradually continue to grow in the job. It makes it varied and exciting.
- If you could change one thing at work, what would it be?
The bicycle shed could be a bit bigger. Now that the weather is getting better and warmer, more and more colleagues come by bike and sometimes it's a matter of looking for a free spot. I also lease a racing bike through work, which is also a nice bonus. And judging by the crowds in the bicycle shed, I'm clearly not the only one!
- Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Within ten years I would like to be the first operator. Maybe a bigger challenge will come my way here, who knows. There are many opportunities within Aurubis to grow or move on to another job. You don't have that in many places and I think that's very nice.
- Your department is looking for additional colleagues. What advice would you give to people considering applying for Aurubis?
Certainly do! Anyway, it's worth listening to and then you can see if it's for you or not. There is a pleasant working atmosphere. And you immediately have a permanent contract at start-up with a good salary plus shift bonuses and other bonuses, which are great advantages these days. Aurubis is also really good for its employees, with initiatives such as a treat with Belgian fries to celebrate good safety figures or ice cream on a hot summer day. I personally reckon those things are a nice motivator and it gives a different turn to the working day.
We are still looking for additional colleagues for our electrolysis department ! Will you become one of Michiel's new colleagues?
- Apply quickly and easily online. We would be happy to receive you for tests and an introductory meeting. We look forward to seeing you soon!