While studying orthopaedic surgery, Melle Beemster came into contact with the mechanical aspects of medicine. The precision in a world that combined science and technology appealed enormously to his imagination. He had already always been interested in mechanics, but his practical experience was restricted to tinkering with the foot pedals for his guitar. At least until he came across the Be An Engineer programme, and Melle made the switch from future doctor to future engineer at Unica Datacenters.
“Of course, I had my doubts about the decision and looked at all the options to decide what best suited me,” explained Melle Beemster. “I eventually made my decision, stopped my medical studies and started vocational training as an engineer at Tata Steel. I needed to find out for myself whether I had made the right decision. Does the work suit me and am I a suitable candidate for the world of engineering? I found myself learning a completely new profession in a new sector. With new impressions, new working methods and a whole new language. I literally felt like I had entered a different world. Ideally, I want to learn my trade from others and not only from studying books. Directors and managers often have university degrees but have little practical knowledge. For me, the ideal combination is a solid basis in both theory and practice.”
After completing his secondary vocational training at Tata Steel, Melle wanted to stay with the company for higher professional education. When that proved impossible, he opted for a different route. “I was introduced to the Be An Engineer programme, and that put me in touch with Unica Datacenters. Be An Engineer is a platform that brings students and engineering companies together. As part of the programme, each candidate is offered paid employment at a company, and is able to attend an appropriate course of higher professional education. Because the course is mainly determined by the employer, career switchers like me have a perfect opportunity to find a job in a new sector.” Right from the first moment, Melle felt the chemistry with Unica. “From the start, communication was open and honest. There was room for my own expectations and for those of Unica. I am the first member of the team at Unica Datacenters to combine study and work at the same time.”
‘I immediately felt welcome and despite my huge career switch I have never felt out of place.”
At Unica Datacenters, Melle works for the tendering department. “It is an interesting combination of several overlapping disciplines. I help the team prepare for tenders, and am responsible for the initial estimate for projects. I work in close collaboration with the team of technical developers, a position I would like to move into when I complete my studies. It is so exciting. There is still plenty to learn, and I am lacking some of the necessary background knowledge. On the other hand, I discover all the time that many of the subject areas overlap more than I would have expected. In my medical studies, I worked in the operating theatre for orthopaedic surgery. People are always interested in that part of my background. It is a sexy profession with images of TV series like House and Grey’s Anatomy. What many people do not realise is that it also involves a great deal of engineering skills. The way the team works together is also similar to the way in which teamwork is organised at Unica.”
Melle has not regretted his decision for a single second. “I am delighted with this opportunity at Unica. Since day one the positive feeling that I had made the right decision has constantly been confirmed. I immediately felt welcome and despite my huge career switch I have never felt out of place.”
Before making the move, he expected the opposition to completely changing the course of his career, as a thirty-year old, to be more pronounced. “I think the switch was made easier by the fact that via Be An Engineer, I am able to follow a course of studies as well as having an interesting job at Unica. It is amazing how many doors open if you are willing to take the plunge. Have you thought of doing things differently? Go ahead and make the switch! A degree in medicine offered me an excellent future in healthcare, but the technical solutions I can now help create at Unica will make me a proud future engineer.”