Aerospace / Systems Engineering
Before I joined Thales, I’d completed a number of engineering work placements, a 12-month internship and a three-month contract in the US as a Component Engineering Technician. These experiences stood me in good stead for a year that has been very full-on. This has included being selected as a lead on a requirements capture project, which involved working with teams of people from various disciplines across an unfamiliar business sector. I had to build relationships quickly and understand the product from the perspective of each discipline. A lot of ownership was placed on my shoulders, but it was great to learn about technologies I hadn’t encountered before.
I’m currently working on an automated test solution for a commercial aircrafts communication system. This has given me the opportunity to accelerate my understanding of avionic systems and the importance of working with stakeholders and pilots to create requirements which will produce a solution which is right for them. I’m involved in many aspects of the design of the test solution, from assessing requirements and selecting the necessary equipment and hardware, to designing the interfacing test adaptors. My technical knowledge has grown and grown, and since this is a new venture for the test methods department, it’s an exciting time to be part of the team.
Engineering is just as much about interpersonal skills as it is about technical capability. If different disciplines work in isolation then often issues arise at the integration stages, so clear communication and expectations are a must with any project. The technical solution is just part of the story; much more work goes on in the background such as the organisation of resources and project scheduling. Projects are complex, especially in design, with many unknowns, and it takes a lot of focus and effort to ensure that everyone in every discipline is working towards a common goal.
I like to take part in as many extra projects as possible, as this provides me with new challenges and exposure to other parts of the business. I’ve worked with graduates and apprentices in a number of disciplines and organised the successful pilot of a structured Engineering Workshop work experience week in Crawley. For this scheme, we needed a photo disclaimer document so we could take photos of students for future scheme marketing, but Thales didn’t have one. I did my research and created the document – after a few amendments from the legal team, this is now in standard use across Thales.