James completed a MEng in Engineering Design with study in industry at the University of Bristol. Discover how he secured a graduate job with Babcock
How did you get your job?
My journey started before I graduated. I completed an industrial placement year at Babcock during my third year of university. I enjoyed the experience so I returned the following summer for another placement before my final year of study.
I returned again as a graduate after completing my degree.
What’s a typical day like?
I work in a technical support team for a range of submarine equipment. Given that the workload is customer-driven no two days are the same.
At any time I can be working on short tasks that require a fast response to the customer, and a major task that involves a modification or design changes to a piece of in-service equipment. Work on these tasks may involve design drawing changes, safety reviews and stress analysis.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy dealing with customer queries. I’m never sure what I’ll be doing at the start of the day, as something more urgent may come up. The work itself is varied too. Some work is highly technical and design-driven and some involves managing the supporting documentation and commercial aspects.
What are the most challenging parts?
During the graduate scheme, completing the three-month department placements can be a challenge as you’re constantly changing teams and having to pick up something new.
However, if you remain flexible and open-minded to the learning experience it is certainly worth it, and means that you can choose where your ‘best fit’ is in the business.
How relevant is your degree?
Very relevant. I wouldn’t be where I am now, or have reached this position so quickly without an engineering degree.
How has your role developed?
When I joined the graduate scheme I rotated around the business and spent three-month placements in different teams to gain experience. This was a great way to gain knowledge of the many different areas on my site, from production and overhaul to detailed design and stress analysis.
I’ve now moved to a position in a technical support team, where I will stay for at least a year. I have ambitions to gain Chartered Engineer status in the future, something Babcock is supporting me through.
What are the best things about this sector?
Submarines represent huge, multi-disciplinary engineering projects and there’s so much to get involved in. I was able to experience many of these different areas during my rotations before settling in my preferred area.
What advice would you give to other students and graduates?
I strongly recommend applying for an industrial summer or year placement during your studies. It gives a brilliant insight into the industry, while giving you time to decide where you see yourself after graduation. It’s also the best job interview you’ll ever complete.