Trainee life at TNO

You can do a lot of cool things at TNO.


Wessel de Zeeuw studied applied mathematics and is now a trainee at TNO. At Military Operations, where they can use his expertise and fresh perspective. Let’s accompany him for a day.


8 a.m.: starting a little early

‘I’m a morning person and I like to start a little bit on time. Before nine I will have gone through my e-mails and know what I have to do for the day. My traineeship at TNO consists of three parts. For the first eight months I worked at Applied Geosciences. My graduation study concerned oil models, and that knowledge fitted in well with the projects they do there. I’ve been with Military Operations for a month. This expertise group develops mathematical techniques and simulation models that provide insight into the consequences of decisions in military and security operations. The Defence, Safety and Security unit is involved in various projects. I focus on the content of a project. In addition, I am investigating how we can link some research processes and how we can cooperate more. The fact that as a trainee you have a fresh perspective helps here.’


9 a.m.: time for personal development

Today I have a workshop on Influencing skills with my trainee group. We meet regularly for training and intervision. The TNO traineeship is not only about knowledge and skills, but also about personal development. How do you get the most out of yourself? We have a coach, and our trainee manager and department manager also help us with this. Perhaps we still learn most from each other; we are a close-knit group and face the same challenges.’


2 p.m.: consultation

This afternoon I have two working meetings: first with my project team, then with a manager of a project that is still in its infancy. I offered my help to get the project off the ground faster. I will now inform everyone about the content and progress as well as plan the first sessions. Trainees are expected to show initiative. You can do a lot of cool things here, but you have to work on them yourself.’


4 p.m.: a little more ‘nerding’.

After all this consultation I also have time to retreat behind my laptop and find out a few things for the departmental project I’m working on – what exactly we do is classified, so I can’t tell you much about it. And then the day’s almost over. When my eight months at Military Operations are up, there will be a final period. The traineeship gives me the opportunity to investigate what I find important in my work and what I can get out of it. For example, what I still miss a little is creativity. But who knows what the next few months will bring?’