We catch up with Bertie, who joined nucleargraduates after studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am a 24 year old Mechanical Engineer from Yorkshire. I always enjoyed science at school, so a career in engineering has always appealed to me. I studied Mechanical Engineering at The University of Sheffield which I found to be a great experience. I loved the city, the university lifestyle, and the course.
I am a keen runner and have competed in Long Distance events at national and international level. I soon found out that it was hard to get in consistent training whilst working so it has taken more of a back seat over the last couple of years.
What is your role and how long have you been at nucleargraduates?
I have been at nucleargraduates for nearly two years, and over that time I have had very varied roles. My first role was investigating the design and manufacture of an innovative type of nuclear power station – a Small Modular Reactor, with my Sponsor Company Rolls-Royce. I was certainly in at the deep end at the start, but you quickly learn to adapt. I then moved on to undertake a Layout Engineering role with EDF, where I was optimising the layout of major systems for the Hinkley Point C nuclear new build project. This was very different from anything I have done so far; it was very interesting being part of a live construction project. My most recent placement was with consultancy firm Wood Group where I was performing computational modelling to help understand core brick cracking in the aging fleet of AGR reactors in the UK. This again was a great experience to develop technical skills, and gain responsibility for developing my own methods. With nucleargraduates there is certainly a lot of flexibility and variety in the types of roles that you will undertake.
What first inspired you to apply for a role with nucleargraduates?
nucleargraduates stood out to me because of my interest in Nuclear, and the chance to see a range of different parts of the industry. I think this is really important to have early in your career so you can understand your interests and strengths better.
Tell us the top three skills you have learnt during your time at nucleargraduates and why you need them in your role.
Firstly, I have developed communication skills, which are vital in engineering as it enables me to make decisions, and make sure that people are aware how this will affect them. Secondly, I have certainly developed my adaptability. Moving around through different roles and companies forces you to be flexible, and helps you identify methods to make it easier. This has meant that I can adapt to new tasks and situations quickly so that I can perform work better. Finally, I have developed my technical skills massively. The chance to be involved in a range of different areas has enabled me to build a diverse skillset.
What kind of training have you received? How has this helped your professional development? (Think about training, support, coaching and the experts you work with internally and at clients)
One of the best things about nucleargraduates is definitely the training that is available. There aren’t many graduate schemes that offer even half the amount of training that is provided with nucleargraduates. We undertake weeklong ‘training zones’ throughout the scheme across a range of topics from leadership, project management, business skills, plus many more. On top of this, we also have a personal training budget which we can spend on any training or conferences which we have identified will contribute towards our development. The combination of all of these have helped me to become a much more rounded person.
What excites you about the work you are doing? (Is it the scale of activities you carry out, the global nature of the company, the impact you make on your team etc?)
For me I like seeing how my work will contribute to the success of nuclear power, and the impact that this will have on future generations.
What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?
The nuclear industry is a great place to be at the minute for young engineers and scientists. The nuclear industry is great because there is such a diverse range of problems which have to be solved – from nuclear physics, to seismic analysis, to dealing with highly dangerous waste. This means that there will always be interesting problems to solve somewhere across the industry.
What is the company culture like?
The nucleargraduates staff is a small team who are all very friendly. The culture amongst the graduates is great. The scheme is very social, so it is good to have such a strong network of people around you.
How has this role and the experiences you’ve gained set you up for future career progression and success?
The nucleargraduates scheme has given me a massive head start as I begin my career. It has given me a lot of ‘soft skills’ which have enabled me to become a more rounded engineer.
Has anything surprised you since you started at nucleargraduates?
How willing I now am to stand up and give a presentation!
Finally, any tips for members wanting to apply to nucleargraduates?
nucleargraduates are not just after someone who is great technically, but it is equally as important to show that you have good teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.
To find out more about nucleargraduates and their opportunities, click here.