Since leaving UoB...
In the September following graduation I started working for QinetiQ on a graduate development scheme, during which I worked as an evaluator of aircraft systems - assessing their safety for flight, reporting on the evidence available and making recommendations for our customer. I also got involved with the company's graduate network which gives me the opportunity to get involved in extra-curricular activities that are superb experiences!
After a number of different technical and business placements, I found an area of flight test that really excited me and rolled off the graduate scheme to do it as a permanent role.
In my current job...
I work as a Trials Officer planning and running flight trials of new avionics and mission systems on fast-jet aircraft. Put simply, this means a lot of the leg work before a test pilot goes out and flies the new kit! Once that's done, I have to analyze and assess the evidence gathered, reporting the findings and making recommendations for our customer about the safety and fitness for purposes of the system.
My job gives the opportunity to get involved with testing some really cool pieces of kit in some amazing places. It is varied, fast-moving and frequently high pressure work and I feel very lucky to have ended up in the flight test world. I wouldn't swap it for a job looking at just one part of an aircraft I'd never get to see fly.
Having a UoB degree...
My UoB degree has given me a grounding which allows me to contribute usefully to teams of far more experienced people. Having a Bristol degree also really makes employers take notice and read your CV, allowing them to see what else you have to offer. Without it, I doubt I'd be working where I am now.
Four years' study couldn't possibly cover everything that I might come across working here, but it's given me a lot of background. While I don't often find myself applying all the complicated equations learned as part of my degree, I do constantly draw upon the knowledge and experience my degree has given me in a wide range of Aerospace topics. The big 3rd and 4th year projects are particularly good preparation for a career in aerospace, and you can never have enough practice at writing technical reports.
Get as much work experience as possible and be prepared to talk about the experiences you've gained from it, and the qualities you demonstrated during it.
Use all the university Careers Service has to offer, including information, practice interviews, aptitude tests and so on. Find out how to make the most of careers fairs and employer presentations and put plenty of effort and hard work into landing your dream job. It definitely does make a difference!
This case study has been published with the kind permission of the interviewee.