Mechanical Engineer – John
Name: John Daley | Age: 25
Degree & University:
Mechanical Engineering, Cambridge University
nucleargraduates, Mechanical Engineer.
What do you actually do?
During my various secondments while on the nucleargraduates scheme I have performed a wide variety of tasks. During my time at Sellafield I filled an operational role. While I was at Atkins I had a design role, and at Dounreay a support role.
Had you contemplated a career in the nuclear sector while at university?
No, I knew nothing about nuclear power. I thought Sellafield was the only nuclear power station that existed and I didn’t know anything about it. There was a nuclear module on my course, and I now regret not taking it.
What attracted you to the nuclear sector?
Nuclear decommissioning is a challenge. There’s a lot of historical unknowns. That combined with the future nuclear new-build programme makes it a much more vibrant and secure sector than other engineering industries.
Would you undertake further training to progress your career?
Yes, but with engineering it is best to carry out the training when required. Like driving, you can be taught the basics but it is only when you actually do it that you begin to learn and pick up a few tricks. I like to learn on my feet, but the scheme will help me towards chartership with the IMECHE.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides?
The wide range of experience is invaluable at such a young age and getting to live in such different locations gives you a better appreciation of the UK. The downside is that you can be stuck miles from friends and family and you can’t attend every event or gathering. However, it allows you to appreciate the local area in which you work. I have been living in Thurso at the top of Scotland. I have been able to see much nicer beaches than I’ve ever seen in Spain or Thailand, although they are a bit colder!
What skills do you need to succeed at what you do?
It is all about being a people person and forgetting about your academic qualifications. Being able to get advice and information off people is much easier than trying to look for it in documents and drawings.
What advice would you give other graduates wanting to come onto the scheme?
You might get the opportunity to work in some remote locations, but don’t be worried by it, as it’s a chance to develop new skills and interests, and often this is where you’ll find the most interesting work.
Are you planning to stay in the nuclear sector?
I plan to stay in the nuclear industry for as long as it continues to provide me with the types of work that I am after and as long as I am still enjoying it. I would be just as happy working on decommissioning, generation or new build projects.
What would you say to reassure graduates who feel uncertain about the nuclear industry?
It is without doubt going to be the growth industry of the next decade, and it is looking to fill the skills shortage having had a generation miss out on the construction of nuclear power stations. There are so many types of jobs within the one industry and often on the same site.