Ben's MEng in Chemical Engineering has lead to a job in the nuclear industry...
Before starting university, I did a year in industry with British Energy as it was then, and from that year I gained sponsorship from the company. I worked with BE every summer and during an industrial placement year, getting the same training as I would through the company graduate scheme.
When I graduated from the University of Bath in 2006, I applied for a full-time job with BE. As I had fulfilled all the requirements of the graduate scheme, I went directly into a job at the engineering headquarters in Gloucester. I then moved to Sizewell B power station in November 2008.
As a nuclear design engineer, I get involved in a huge range of projects covering a number of different technical areas. As chemical engineering covers a number of engineering topics, my degree has been very useful in giving me an overview of all aspects of engineering.
As a design engineer, I am responsible for ensuring the changes we make do not adversely affect the plant and will be of benefit. Typically, I will be working on a number of different projects aimed at improving safe and reliable operation of the power plant.
My main focus is on long-term improvements working on multi-million pound projects, but I may also be required to support operation of the plant in the short term if there are equipment failures.
As I have become more experienced, the size and range of jobs that I undertake have increased. I hold authorised roles on site meaning that I have the responsibility to maintain safety at all times - nuclear, industrial and environmental - ensuring that all the work that I manage and implement is safe now and in the future.
As part of my career development so far I have become a chartered engineer, which has been fully supported by EDF Energy, and this helps to give me credibility outside of the company as well as internally.
My career focus to date has been technical, focusing on my skills and training as an engineer. My future ambitions are to develop my wider ranging skills, in particular my management skills. I want to become a station director on one of the new nuclear stations to be built in the UK, and I am currently being sponsored by EDF Energy to study for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with one of the top European business schools.
I enjoy the variety of my job. Some of the tasks I perform are quite simple in engineering terms but the additional challenge brought by the nuclear elements of my job means that nothing is boring and extra thought has to be given to the tasks.
The challenges of the industry and its uniqueness make it a great place to be. These are exciting times with new nuclear build now a reality and a real international feel to the work.
You don't need to have studied nuclear engineering to work in this area; we need chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineers as well as physicists, chemists and mathematicians. The industry is challenging and varied and has a bright future, but we need young professional and dedicated engineers to help us maintain the high standards of excellence and safety to secure the future of the industry.
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