"I find it really rewarding to see the physical development of what you’re working on."
Graduate of University of Birmingham
Degree: Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering
I have been with AWE for two years and was originally attracted to the company due to its high-tech nature and the fact it offered me the opportunity to develop transferable skills within the mechanical engineering profession. The work is unique and it’s a sophisticate product I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work on.
I currently work on engineering aspects of the deterrent itself and tasks can vary from trend analysis and the manipulation of data to getting “hands-on” in a laboratory. Mechanical engineers are generally seen as subject matter experts for the integration of our warhead programme. My experience of the graduate scheme has been very structured and positive; I have been on placements around the company for two years and have been able to request where I wanted to go; with the support from experience teams who recognise the importance of my professional development.
In the past I’ve worked on the design and manufacture of experiments for plasma physics and explosives trials. There is a surprising amount of design, build and do. We develop cutting edge technology and there’s some phenomenal kit around to get involved with and use. There are plenty of roles available, from additive manufacture to treaty verification and the opportunity to work internationally.
The staff are all welcoming and friendly; from the guard on the gate to my colleagues. Plus, with around 5,500 on site and over 100 graduates I'm never lonely and there’s a superb social scene that really can’t be beaten – I play football and badminton after work with my friends and regularly bump into somebody I know from work when out and about (in a good way!). AWE also stresses the value of good community relations, with dozens of staff including myself volunteering at local schools.
A typical day will often incorporate a visit to a manufacturing facility, workshop or laboratory; I find it’s really rewarding to see the physical development of what you’re working on.
Engineering is a highly transferable skill in an essential industry. The career route is well defined from school to further education to industry; if you can do it, do it. The earlier you can get really stuck in and build a portfolio of engineering experience, practical and theoretical, the better. It’s enriching, and AWE is a smashing place to do this.