What does your role involve?
I’m a design engineer on the Graduate Scheme at BakerHicks, and while I’ve worked on lots of different things, currently I’m focusing on high voltage cable system design. It’s a bottomless pit of engineering where you can take things to the nth degree which I love! Right now, I’m working on developing a brand new way of designing cables where you simulate it bit-by-bit in 3D software. This is something completely new so it’s really exciting! It’s such a thrill to get to work on something like this and to have people asking you about it and how it’s going. This is one of the real bonuses of being a graduate engineer here, you have the freedom and time to dedicate to learning alongside doing project work. It’s a unique and amazing opportunity.
What does a typical day for you look like?
Excitement is about the only consistent thing! I honestly can’t think of a single day since I joined that I could call typical, every day there’s a new challenge, something different to solve. Currently my time is taken up with working on COMSOL, various cable design and calculations. I get to do a lot of calculations and reports which my line manager then reviews. There’s also lots of little admin and managerial jobs. It’s a real jumble of tasks.
How did you get into HV engineering?
This is such a funny story, as far back as I can remember I have been fascinated by electricity and power. I have photos of me as a little kid building power stations! The fact that the whole world is connected by this energy and powered by it just fascinates me. So, when I went to university it was always going to be HV engineering that I specialised in.
What made you choose the BakerHicks Graduate Scheme?
One of my university friends actually had a placement at Morgan Sindall, who are part of the same group as BakerHicks, and he mentioned them to me. So, I went online to take a look and the opportunities they offered were really exciting, it was so much more than just doing basic tasks that you might expect as a graduate, so I applied. They are leading HV designers and pioneering in terms of design in my chosen field. So, when I got offered a phone interview that was amazing for me, and when I got through to the next stage, and then offered a place…that was even more amazing!
My journey to actually starting is definitely a story of it being worth the wait. I’m from Georgia so needed a tier two visa to start working. But with a pandemic and Brexit it wasn’t the easiest or quickest. But the team here were great and fully supported me through the whole process.
How have you found the Graduate Scheme at BakerHicks?
Honestly, it’s been such an amazing experience so far. Not only am I getting to work on the front line of engineering and design, but I have had so many opportunities to learn, develop and even to experiment with tasks like the one I’m currently working on. The programme gives us all we need to develop general skills, but there are also constantly lots of small lessons that teach you more specific things. You’re supported by your line manager the whole way, but you have a healthy level of responsibility within that. They always go the extra step to make sure we’re learning and developing as engineers and we’re encouraged to do things to a meticulous level, for example we often do calculations by hand, so we are able to fully understand how it works. You’re also given all the resources and the time you need to learn, both inside and outside of work time. I’ve attended webinars and have also been supported in achieving my IET qualification to become a full member. All in all, they really do encourage you to pursue your passion for engineering.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to get into the industry?
So much! There’s so much you can do, there’s lots of groups and, more importantly, institutions that support engineers, with different ones for different fields. For HV it’s CIGRE and the IET, so sign up to those. A lot of them don’t cost a penny to join and you can attend events where you’ll get the opportunity to meet so many people and get a real insight into what goes on in the industry. It takes you to heights you never thought possible.
That practical experience is really important to gain alongside the theory you learn at university. One of the things I am most proud of is starting the Engineering Society while I was there. I felt we needed more practical experience, so I put out a few messages on Facebook and made a couple of flyers and got an initial meeting set up. There was a lot of support and passion behind it, I think that first year we ran over 20 events; we went on site visits and organised guest speakers. It provided that experience to go alongside the theory and really made everything come together for me.