Trainee in the spotlight: Charlot

Charlot Felderhof 500x500 def

'Looking to grow and up for a challenge? The TNO traineeship takes you out of your comfort zone.'

Charlot Felderhof

Trainee at the Energy and Materials Transition unit

Charlot studied innovation science in Eindhoven and started as a trainee at TNO in 2024. 'Sustainability is a very important theme in my life. During my studies, I was a member of the Solar student team at Eindhoven University of Technology. For a year, we worked full-time on a solar-powered car.

At TNO, they work on innovations that really make a difference, in the field of sustainability and beyond. That's why I wanted to work here. That drive is what binds our group of trainees: whatever country we come from, whatever study we did, we all want to work hard and make an impact.'

The perfect picture

Yet Charlot initially doubted whether she should apply. 'I am not a quantum engineer or a chemist; I have a broad background. In the student team I didn't have the technical expert role either, but was responsible for setting up sponsorships and collaborations with companies. Still, I wondered whether I fitted into the picture at TNO. During the interviews I gradually gained more and more confidence. So you see: even if you don't tick all the boxes on paper, don't be discouraged.

Now, during her first trainee rotation, she works as a project leader in the Energy and Materials Transition unit for three and a halve days a week. In addition, all trainees get to use one and a half day a week for personal development. 'There are also special trainee projects. These are on corporate level, so focused on the entire organisation and not a specific department. That way, you get to know it quickly.'

Positively surprised

'Even though I started quite recently, TNO has already proven to be the high-tech organisation I expected. I am positively surprised by how broad the content of all the research is. Many technicians work here, but also people with a background in psychology or social sciences for instance. And if you expect only men of a certain age to work here, think again. What also strikes me is the enthusiasm of colleagues: everyone genuinely enjoys what they do. There are always someone willing to help you or answer questions.'

What makes the traineeship different from any other entry-level position? 'The traineeship puts your growth and development in a higher gear. You can try out different positions, including those outside your comfort zone. A role you don't know yet forces you to learn something new and that is how you grow. I know myself: I need a challenge.'

Comfort zone

That is why Charlot’s first role as a trainee is outside her own comfort zone: project manager at the Energy and Materials Transition unit. 'Air quality and emissions monitoring is completely new to me. I get the chance to figure it out myself, but know that I always have the opportunity to ask questions or get support.'

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