Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Simon, and I'm 26 years old.
After a gap year in Germany in the field of adhesives, I obtained my engineering degree in chemistry and formulation at CPE Lyon, supplemented by a master's degree in materials.
I'm now in Osaka, working as a UV engineer on a V.I.E contract with Bostik, Arkema's adhesives subsidiary.
What does your job involve? What skills do you need?
I work mainly on UV-curable adhesives and sealants. My job is to develop new products and improve existing ones to meet customer expectations. The field of high-performance adhesives is highly competitive, so it's important to be part of a continuous improvement process.
As well as skills in chemistry and materials science, I think this job requires communication skills. As an international company, it's important to share information effectively not only within the team, but also with all the people involved, all over the world. Curiosity is also important to find new technical solutions and new raw materials. These technologies must always be innovative.
How did your recruitment and integration go?
I found the job offer on the website of Business France, the entity that manages V.I.E. contracts. I then had interviews with the HR and technical departments, then with HR and technical managers in France and Japan. This confirmed our mutual interest. I then spent 7 weeks at the Bostik Smart Technology Center in Venette, to familiarize myself with some of the technologies developed in Japan. It was very useful!
The local Japanese team helped me get my visa, find accommodation and even picked me up on my first day of work! It was really nice.
What were your first impressions when you started your mission?
The first few days weren't easy. I was amazed by Japan and its culture, but everything is so different. It didn't help that I couldn't speak Japanese. However, after a few days I felt more at ease, and everyone is very helpful and understanding. My integration into the company went in the same way. Everyone was very kind to me and gave me time to acclimatize. My colleagues always make an effort to speak English when I'm with them.
How would you sum up your VIE at Arkema in 3 words?
In 3 words, I'd describe the experience as enriching, professionally and culturally speaking; as an adventure, because it takes you out of your comfort zone and requires total commitment; and as an opportunity, because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so you have to seize it!
What advice would you give to those who would like to do a V.I.E at Arkema?
I'd recommend it 100%. The VIE is a real opportunity for European citizens, and the Arkema group offers a good framework for doing so, thanks to its international culture and experience of these contracts.
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