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'I now know what it means to be an engineer in the real world'

Monday 15 July 2019, UCAS advice


'I now know what it means to be an engineer in the real world'

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So, I studied Maths, Physics, Economics and English at A-levels. My Dream is to be a pilot for MAF in Indonesia, but in the meantime get into the aerospace industry to help achieve that goal. Having applied through UCAS, I was offered a place with Loughborough University to do Aeronautical engineering.

During my degree I covered a lot of material about the engineering behind an aircraft. From the aerodynamic analysis of wing airfoils to turbomachinery & propulsion. I applied for sandwich placements thinking it’d be a good idea to get some experience in the fully adult, working world and to get a positive bank account!

I landed an internship with GE Aviation who assigned me to the Material & Process Engineering department within Dowty Propellers, a GE Aviation business. It was hard adjusting to my responsibilities early on. As it turns out, the Aerospace industry isn’t just confined to “aeronautical engineering”, or even engineering in general. One of my responsibilities was the daily laboratory testing. This consisted of testing isofoams, isocyanates, resins and hardeners which were used in the production of propeller blades. Chemistry is not my strong point! But as I had a bit of lab experience prior to my placement, I was able to adjust quickly and from there learn what I was doing, and how changes in the various chemical properties affected the mechanical properties of components of the blade. Another example of having to learn on job is my root treatment alternative project. This project focused on metallurgy, making a components’ surface corrosion resistant, and meant having to study the various chemical treatments and the chemistry behind them. Among these I also did tasks related to my degree such as CAD & CFD. I can’t put up any pictures of the work I do as that’s classified but I can show representations.

Having done a year placement, I now know what it means to be an engineer in the real world. It’s not at all about what you know, (although that does come in handy) it’s more of a mindset. Having the ability to adapt, adjust and thrive in completely different territories. Sounds like a poster, but it is true!

For those struggling, thinking they don’t have the skills, knowledge or what it takes to get into that uni, to do that job or whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to try. Personally speaking, I didn’t get the grades I needed to get into Loughborough. I had no knowledge of chemistry yet was accepted a placement in a chemistry-based role and was able to complete the respective projects. My manager’s background is in Environmental Science, my colleague’s Biology, yet they ended up in an Aerospace industry and are thriving. If your willing to try and learn, that’s all you need. Engineering is more of a mindset than a checklist of what you know. Now having done this placement my future has broadened, and I have more opportunities and possibilities. I now have more freedom in choosing where I go next.