Daniel Gilmore graduated with a degree in civil and structural engineering from the University of Leeds. He’s now in the first year of the Sellafield Ltd graduate scheme
What attracted you to this graduate scheme – what were the steps you took from graduation?
I was accepted onto the scheme after completing a ten-week summer placement between my third and fourth years at university. I found Sellafield Ltd to be a very welcoming organisation where people were prepared to help and the benefits were very competitive.
Tell us about your time at Sellafield. What have been the highlights?
I’ve completed two placements – both quite contrasting: one working for the Infrastructure Strategic Alliance (ISA), a joint venture between Sellafield, Arup and Morgan Sindall, where I was responsible for improving the site infrastructure; and another for the analysis section, carrying out finite element analysis (FEA) of structures.
For the ISA placement, I was involved with different areas of the site, including doing substantiation for a booth, which only had one 3D drawing. The work focused on small jobs and mainly involved checking drawings and designing structures for constructability, which I hadn’t done much of at university.
On the second placement, I developed skills in using Ansys and Mathcad. It incorporated an analysis of an underground culvert junction where I tested it to see what maximum wheel load could be applied to the structure. I got to build models of complex structures and check the capacities of the members.
What training and support have you received?
A number of events are planned as part of the graduate scheme, such as a week-long training session based on progressing from university to the workplace, and an overview of the nuclear industry, plus many other sessions and tasks.
Graduates on the scheme regularly meet up at lunchtimes and we frequently arrange social events together.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I’ve taught evening classes at a local college in Warrington, and have led a session teaching students about civil engineering and performing tasks such as designing a beam and building a bridge.
I’ve also taken part in a community challenge to carry out improvement works (gardening, painting and building chicken coops) at a community centre.
What work will you be involved with next?
I’m set to do a placement in the geotechnics section before undertaking a design placement. I’ll finish the scheme with a construction placement on-site at Sellafield.
I’ll also be presenting a paper to the International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ICSMGE 2017) in Seoul, South Korea.
What does it take to be successful in this industry?
Ask questions – as well as developing your knowledge, it helps your line managers to know that you’re trying to understand what you’re doing.
Communicate well and ensure the people you’re doing work for are kept informed of your progress. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ring someone if they don’t immediately respond to emails.
Do you have any advice for graduates interested in working for Sellafield?
Be social to the people around you. Developing and building working relationships with fellow graduates and colleagues can help you to enjoy working at Sellafield, as well as helping you get your work done.