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UK-alasdair-beddow - Thalesgroup
Defence / Electronics Engineer

My first R&D project with Thales involved working on a new technology in a fuze – the part of the device that initiates function in military munitions. After briefly working on another project to test laser calibration for a proximity fuze, I returned to my original project in charge of designing the firing section of a new modular based fuze. We managed to create a whole fuze and fired it down a high acceleration catapult – the highlight of my career! Now I’m on a six-month secondment for the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carrier project.

I volunteered to help out at a STEM event called Imagineering. We came up with a new activity for children to play with that related to our work and would help inspire them to consider engineering for a future career. With two other graduates, I designed a missile simulator game consisting of a box with various brightly coloured lights and switches. I designed and built the system; the project management graduate helped secure the funding, the software engineering graduate helped me code the software. The game has been used at STEM events all over the UK.

When I started, I thought that a lot of information I gained over the first few months could have been useful in the induction process. So a couple of other graduates and I formed a project team to create a new induction process in a single checklist style document, combined with presentations/workshops. This has now been implemented in Basingstoke and we’re hoping it can be rolled out to other UK sites this year. I’m also on the Graduate Development Programme Representative Committee. One of our biggest achievements has been the introduction of a graduate intranet to connect Thales graduates across the UK.

The things I like best about Thales are the variety of work and the freedom you have to develop your career. The Graduate Development Programmes offer lots of training courses, but learning really comes from trying new things and gaining experience in different areas. If you want to get involved in a particular project, speak up and Thales will try to make it happen – my working on the Queen Elizabeth Carrier is proof of this. We work on large-scale projects but there’s a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, so you never feel you’re just a number.