Simon is a graduate naval architect with Babcock Marine. He graduated with an MEng in Naval Architecture and Small Craft Engineering in 2007.
I’ve always had an interest in engineering and looked at both mechanical engineering and naval architecture courses when it came to applying to university. Ultimately the Naval Architecture and Small Craft Engineering course offered by the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde appealed to me the most because it covered a good range of topics in a specialist area that already interested me.
Having graduated with an MEng in 2007, I was delighted to be offered a position on Babcock Marine’s graduate training programme. As part of the graduate training scheme, I’ve undertaken a variety of placements in the design office, the fabrication workshop and the refit team. There’s plenty of opportunity to get experience in a whole range of other departments too, including those dealing with docks maintenance, quality control, general project management and finance.
My work within the design team has included analysing the acceptability of designs, using models to calculate what works and what doesn’t within a design, and checking that the designs fit both the specifications and the relevant regulations. This work is mainly computer-based, though it also involves reporting back to clients in face-to-face meetings.
My placement in the fabrication workshop allowed me to see how the work of the design office is transferred from plans to reality. Seeing the components built and assembled and working with the engineers who project manage this side of things has given me a better understanding of the whole build process. In addition, as part of my placement with the refit team, I shadowed a classification surveyor from Lloyds Register and assisted him in reporting the work required on each project and providing estimates for repairs. Both these placements have helped me understand the wider work of the company and, in turn, helped me become a better designer.
Communication is an important part of my work as I’m regularly required to liaise with clients and produce written reports on various aspects of the projects I work on, which often involves interpreting technical information presented in drawings and specification documents. My work also involves sharing knowledge and giving advice to colleagues on areas I’ve been working on and so teamwork is also an essential part of the job.
At the end of the two-year graduate training scheme, most people start to specialise and choose between either project management roles, where you can be responsible for managing budgets, people and resources on a variety of projects, or technical roles involved in the design, build and testing of vessels. Ultimately, it’s the design side of things that interests me most and I’ll start to explore the specialist areas available whilst working towards chartered status.
For a career in naval architecture it’s important that you have a good knowledge of the general principles of naval architecture and structural design. Maybe that sounds obvious, but it’s these basic principles that you’re taught right at the start of your degree that I use on a daily basis in my job.
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