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Setting up a factory is not something you learn at school

Only a few years ago Henry Azcona Marqués from Catalonia in Spain started working for a Dutch company called Huijbregts Group which is located in the Brainport Eindhoven region. There he started as an intern in the so-called Brainport Traineeship Program. Today, partly because of circumstances caused by corona, he is responsible for the technical team of the Spanish factory that Huijbregts has opened in April 2021. ‘Setting up a factory is not something you learn at school. This was an unexpected, but extremely challenging opportunity that I am really enjoying.’

In 2018 Henry decided to go the Dutch Brainport Eindhoven region for a three month internship at Huijbregts Group. The internship was part of the Brainport Traineeship program that offers matchmaking between Spanish and Italian Tech & IT students or recent graduates who want to gain work experience abroad and Dutch companies in the Brainport Eindhoven region that offer traineeship positions. Huibregts is a global market leader in blending powders for the food industry in a high-quality manner. The blends are exported to food manufacturers in 64 countries. 

Excellent chance for personal development and experiencing other cultures

"Back in Spain I combined a study at a school for secondary vocational education with a job as a maintenance specialist at Casa Tarradellas, a well-known food company in Catalonia,” says Henry. “My school suggested that I could participate in a traineeship in the Brainport Eindhoven region. I was 20 years old back then and really enthusiastic about the opportunity to work and live abroad. I wanted to meet different cultures and experience how people live and work in other places. This was an excellent chance for me to grow as a person, to develop myself and to increase my level of English.”

Traineeship at Huijbregts led to a job

“After that the Brainport Traineeship Program had matched me with Huijbregts Groep and saw the technology and the machines that they use during the blending processes, I became very curious and wanted to learn as much as I could. My first project at Huijbregts during the internship was to program PLC software for small processes. During that time, I also worked on a Fanuc industrial robot arm, a smart industry application that we use to make pallets. After three months, Huijbregts and I were both very satisfied about the internship and the company offered me a job which I accepted.”

Corona crisis led to unexpected responsibility

“During that time, I also helped setting up the Spanish factory that Huijbregts is about to open in a number of weeks. Huijbregts had already told me that being involved in the Spanish location would be a good opportunity for me. Then just after I had returned to Spain the coronavirus spread and my Dutch colleagues could not travel to Spain anymore. I became their eyes and ears and started managing the technical people at our Spanish location. To me that was an unexpected but very challenging opportunity.”

Grateful for the freedom and responsibility

“It is very exciting to suddenly be managing a technical team. My Dutch colleagues support me really well. I can call them for advice and when problems need to be fixed. In the beginning I was a bit scared about the managing part, but I’ve managed and I am really enjoying it now. I get a lot of freedom and responsibility and I am grateful for that.”

Setting up a factory is very exciting

“Our Spanish team consists of five persons, all Spaniards and the plant manager is from Belgium. Within a short time, our Dutch colleagues will also arrive and helps us get the factory running. The factory is strategically located, close to the sea and near the French border. From there we are going to serve the Italian, Spanish, French and part of the North-African market. From the moment that I was in Spain, I‘ve been in the factory every day. It is a very exciting process. Setting up factories is not something that you learn at school.”

Company culture Huijbregts is welcoming and personal

“I really like working for Huijbregts. Since the first day I have felt very comfortable and was accepted immediately in the company. People at Huijbregts are very welcoming to internationals, everyone started a conversation with me and helped me if I needed help. To me that was really nice and comfortable, because starting a new job is always difficult but starting a job in a different country where people don’t speak your mother language is even more of a challenge. At Huijbregts people see you as a person, you are not just a number. The owners of the company Frans and Willem Huijbregts know me personally. They know all of their employees.”

In Brainport Eindhoven you can feel the tech-vibe

“I also liked being in the Brainport Eindhoven region. It is a good place to be if you like technology and innovation. There are a few large tech companies and a lot of smaller tech and IT companies. You can simply feel the tech-vibe everywhere. During the traineeship I lived in the student hotel in Eindhoven. It is a very international city, with a lot of international students and a lot of events that are organized for internationals. Making friends therefore was easy. To other students who are considering participating in the traineeship, I would say, just do it!”