When you’re studying at university, naturally you imagine how your career will progress as an engineering graduate in the future. Everything is bright and every day you get to solve problems that will propel your company to great new heights…right?
Well, I’m lucky because my job as a Design Engineer at Rotary Power is exactly what I hoped it would be when I graduated from Newcastle University back in 2012.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy at first. I don’t think it ever is for graduates! When you start your first day at work, you realise just how little you actually know. You have a whole new company, new products and new terminology to learn (as well as remembering the name of the person sitting next to you!).
But that’s what is great about the job, every day brings new challenges and believe me the sense of achievement you feel when you solve a problem is like no other.
I am now three years into my career at British Engines and I finally feel like a real engineer. The mix of design work and practical hands on experience I get keeps the job fresh and constantly evolving. One week I could be at my desk doing calculations to determine the strength of a new part, the next I could be in the development lab helping to set up the next run of performance tests for a prototype motor.
My current role has put me in charge of overseeing the development and testing of our new range of cam motors. I have also been fortunate enough to have designed two out of the five models in this range, so I really feel like this project is my baby and I’m determined to see it grow up into a functional and respected product.
The project originally started as an upgrade to an older design, but soon evolved into a new product line which allowed us as designers to test what we know (and learn what we don’t!). From generating concept designs to finished manufacturing drawings, choosing individual bought out components and commissioning whole test rigs, this project has been a huge team effort and it’s finally starting to show dividends.
It wasn’t easy getting here though, the project has been peppered with setbacks and challenges to overcome, but solving these has been the best part.
I have learnt so much since I started working here, by attending specific training courses and from practical experience. When there has been something I’ve struggled with, I’ve always had the support of my colleagues to help me out. I also meet with my manager regularly to discuss how things are going and review my personal development plan and propose any additional training I would like. I have had lots of support towards my professional registration with the IMechE, something British Engines actively encourages and I’m hoping to get chartered within the next year.
When I think back to my first day and that feeling of “oh my goodness, I don’t know anything” and compare it to how I feel now, I realise that the diversity of problem solving is what got me into engineering in the first place and what keeps the job interesting. After all, life would be boring if things always went to plan!