MEng Mechanical Engineering – Sheffield University
Kate joined the graduate programme in September 2010.
“To be honest, I’ve never fit the stereotypical image of an engineer. I didn’t spend my youth fiddling with car engines or obsessing over the latest fighter jets. I was more interested in energy issues. Rolls-Royce is also aware of the importance of future resource problems, so in some ways it was a case of us finding each other at the right time.
“Although the company doesn’t have a long track record in civil nuclear engineering, they’ve proven their excellence in so many other areas that I felt confident this was the right move. Rolls-Royce has such a formidable reputation in the world of engineering. If you study the subject, they’re always top of your list.
“With the Professional Excellence programme, the placements only last three months. This means you get a broader overview of the business in a much shorter scale of time. I’ve only been here a year and I’ve already completed four placements. This has seen me turn my hand to everything from design engineering for submarines to governance issues. It’s been an incredibly steep learning curve.
“The Design & Make project was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. Every engineer on the Professional Excellence programme gets to do this placement. Working with a small team of other trainees, you basically get twelve weeks to solve an engineering problem from start to finish. Ours was to find a method for deploying fibre optic cables into the complex pipe geometry of a nuclear boiler.
“On paper, this was physically impossible. But believe it or not, we came up with a solution that is now being patented. It actually led to Rolls-Royce winning some civil contracts — and got us a lot of exposure to senior people across the business.
“The working culture here is second to none. Rolls-Royce only hires people who want to help and find solutions. You don’t get people here shrugging their shoulders and fobbing you off. As a graduate, you’ll find that even the most senior people within the business are willing to take time out and help you with the basics. Everyone here is so approachable and friendly.”