MEng Materials Science – Oxford University
MSc Ultra Precision Technologies – Cranfield University
Liz joined the graduate programme in 2009.
“I chose the Professional Excellence Programme because of its strong technical focus. It allowed me to apply all the things I had learned at university. I also felt it was important to develop my technical expertise at the beginning of my career. Although I’m keen to become a manager at some point, I know I’ll have the chance to acquire those skills later on. That’s one of the best things about Rolls-Royce. There are so many opportunities here for career development — you never feel pigeonholed or restricted.
“I’ve completed six placements on this programme, and each one has given me a different experience. I’ve worked in highly specialist roles like Materials and Manufacturing. I’ve seen first-hand how our engines are repaired at our plant in Indianapolis. I’ve even had the chance to work on high-level strategic projects – something I never envisaged myself doing. That was on my third attachment, where I contributed to a report on the company’s purchasing strategy. For an engineer like me, it was a real eye-opener. I got to see how Rolls-Royce works as a commercial enterprise.
“Because the placements only last three months, they feel a bit like a rollercoaster. The first few weeks of a new placement are always a bit daunting because everything’s new. It’s an incredibly steep learning curve. Then, as soon you start getting the hang of it all, you’re whisked off to the next placement to start the process all over again. It’s a programme that continually challenges you and pushes you beyond your comfort zone.
“I’m now five months into my first proper role. I’m working as a Materials Application Engineer in the Aerospace division. I support the work of two main teams: Transmissions, Structures & Drives and Turbines. I basically advise the teams on materials and processes for the design, test, manufacture and repair of engine components. It’s a constant balancing act. One material might be strong and really good at high temperatures, but it might also be heavy and expensive. There’s so much still for me to learn. I can see myself working in this function for a long while yet.”