John

Graduate Commissioning Engineer

"AWE also has a very positive attitude towards investing in its future with the next generation of graduates."

Graduate of University at Strathclyde, Glasgow
Degree: Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering

I joined AWE in January 2014 and was attracted to the wide range of engineering disciplines on offer and I was looking for the opportunity to experience the practical side of engineering to complement the theory I developed at University. AWE also has a very positive attitude towards investing in its future with the next generation of graduates. The nature of the company’s business is very interesting to me; in my role I am contributing towards serving my country and providing support to the MoD’s strategic deterrent.

Currently, I am contributing to a project’s operation and maintenance manuals, an important suite of documents that have to be spot on for operators to use. This task involves reviewing documents for their formatting (a specific uniform format is required) their technical content, preparing them for internal review and acceptance. In other roles I have reviewed Commissioning Procedure documents for their fitness for purpose; these documents are vital to establish a safe environment to test process plant and equipment and other systems and their safety limits, as well as to set the pass criteria for the tests and record the test results. I hope in the near future that I get the chance to gain experience in Project Management.

As a graduate I am in the position where I can meet countless individuals all of very different skill sets; being able to network is vital to engineering anywhere in industry and it is no different at AWE.  The experiences people share are very insightful and fascinating to hear, every day is different. For me the social side is also important. There are loads of clubs currently running, from cricket, football and rugby to squash, drama and a gym.

For my future, I will complete the Graduate Programme in early 2016 and I plan to continue building my skills, experience and network of contacts. As I edge closer to the ‘other end’ of my career, I hope to be in a position to recruit or mentor graduates; this is something I have long held an interest in. I cannot recommend strongly enough the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education to young people. The world economy is driven by science, technology, engineering and manufacturing – it is here where you can make a difference to the world, and get paid rather well while you do it! Don’t worry if you are a school pupil and aren’t sure of what you want to do – if you like STEM subjects, you’re already on the right track. Have a think what you’d like to do, Apprenticeship or University Degree for example, and do some research into what steps you need to take. Get in touch with other people and ask their opinion and advice.

In my final year at University (age 22-23) I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I found a role at AWE and I’ve never looked back. So, I guess you’ll be fine!

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