In Student Business by dlobjoie

Since 2015, the Matrox Imaging Division of Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd. has been hosting Business Class interns. It is a renewed pleasure to work with Arnaud Lina, Director of Research and Innovation. He was inspired by an internship while working as a high school student. From now on, he sees the whole point of sharing with passionate young people.

Tell me about your organization.

Matrox is a manufacturer of electronic and software components related to the image, an image that must be acquired, an image that must be displayed and an image from which we must extract information, to guide a robot for example. For my part, I work more specifically in the division Matrox Imaging, specialized in industrial imaging.

With approximately 500 employees at the head office in Montreal, the core of development is primarily software developers and electronics specialists. We also recruit technicians who work, among others, on our production site.

What are the staffing and manpower requirements in your area?

Software design is in great demand in all sectors and we face increasing competition, even a shortage of high-end software developers in the region. The universities tell us about a ratio of 3 internship offers per student to the baccalaureate in the software sector, a figure that speaks for itself.

Tell me about your experience as a Student Business mentor.

Welcoming trainees is always an interesting experience, especially at their age. It’s not something a business is used to. It is a small challenge to put yourself in the shoes of a teenager and find tasks that are adapted to him in the course of our activities, because we absolutely want our interns to be fully integrated into the team. Immersion in a work environment, if only for a week, group membership, accomplishment of a “real” task that entails interactions and feedbacks with the members of the group seem to me the most important and rewarding. In no case do we want to offer only an observation internship!

During the internship, the students are surrounded by people who have a very high knowledge in high technologies. If you dig a little, there are always accessible tasks that support the team. We are aiming for achievable and useful tasks that allow us to appreciate the workings and realities of our professions.

Did you feel interns had an emerging interest in the sector?

They are 15 years old, it is the first time that they cross the door of a company to accomplish a slice of active life there. Just to live this experience is in essence the essence of this internship in my opinion. The field of high technologies stimulates the imagination, we imagine a universe of gadgets, super computers, etc. But as everywhere else, even to produce things as “cool” as they are, you have to work hard and do sometimes less “cool” tasks. This allows a demystification of the workplace for many young people.

And then, eventually the internship can play a much bigger role for others – I think of one particular young person who has been able to project themselves through these examples of women who are pursuing an IT career here at Matrox, and who later came back to us for his Young Explorers for a Day internship.

In 2018, is there a certain trend in the proportions of men and women in your sector?

This is hard to measure, my work team is a tiny sample, but I feel we are getting more women’s resumes than before. By the way, most of my recent hires are women! But the sector is still predominantly male.

Do you have a short message to send to young people interested in your sector?

We make the pictures speak! Or, more concretely, we use a combination of mathematical, scientific, and computer knowledge so that a computer can make a decision from an image. Recognize and find a simple circle in an image, a task so obvious to us and already incredibly complex for a computer. So, imagine finding Charlie! The challenges are not lacking and they require a lot of imagination and innovation!

Have you noticed anything about the next generation of workers?

We almost all have a smart phone in our hands. We adopt and use high tech with a speed and ease disconcerting. Obtaining results is fast and the need to experiment less and less present. But the other side of the wall, things are not so immediate.

Perseverance is a precious value. I often return with the Law of Pareto, it is necessary to hang on and persevere, it is in the last straight line that hides the difference, the added value, the excellence.

During the course, although we encourage rotations on the various activities, we push the young to complete the end, tasks that are sometimes less fun.

Would you recommend the program to Matrox partner organizations?

Of course!

And you, why are you involved in it?

Thirty years ago, I participated in a week of internship at the airport in my area. The people who mentored me were stimulating and passionate. The contagion – not to mention the kick – that I needed. I jostled their daily for a week and no doubt they jostled my journey. A great chance!

This article is part of a series of portraits of mentors 2017 that will be published punctually by the summer.

Photo credits :
The photos identified with the Montreal Relève logo were made by Sarah Geerits.