School of Engineering

Tom

Tom

Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Industrial Placement: MEng (Hons)

Newcastle University gave me the confidence and knowledge to become the engineer I am today, particularly the industrial placement as this gave me experience working with the team I am now a part of.

About me

My name is Tom. I studied MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Newcastle University and graduated in 2016.

Current role

My current role is a graduate electrical engineering consultant.

The company I work for is called GHD (not the hair straighteners) and it is one of the world’s leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation. GHD provide engineering, environmental and advisory services to private and public sector clients, and I work within the power team based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Since my employment, I have been part of various projects including electrical system studies, managing a GHD experience database in Abu Dhabi, and I am currently on secondment to Northern Power Grid. I work within Northern Power Grid’s high voltage design team. I am tasked with reviewing the feasible design options for new customer connections, providing a budget quote based on the least cost yet technically acceptable solution, and subsequently designing the connection arrangement. The customers I work with are requesting to connect to the 22-132kV network across the whole of Yorkshire.

Choosing Newcastle

I have to be honest that, when I was deciding on what I should study and where I should go, I didn’t have a clue. I had a few friends who went to other Universities in the North East and this then drew my attention to Newcastle University. The facilities looked great and I knew Newcastle was a great city. It was then the tough choice of what I should study; I must have read through all the maths and science based courses when I came across Electrical Engineering. The course description and the modules it offered made my mind up for me.

What I liked most about Newcastle University was the freedom: not being forced into education like school or sixth form, but having the free will to push yourself and work on things you choose to work on rather than things which were chosen for you. The very different path you can carve with your choice of modules and lectures was also something I will not forget.

Studying at Newcastle

My favourite part of Newcastle University was the micro-mouse project. This module gave me real experience of working to a budget and in a team of engineers to try to solve a problem. Coming second may have had an effect on my choice!

Newcastle University gave me the confidence and knowledge to become the engineer I am today, particularly the industrial placement as this gave me experience working with the team I am now a part of! It allowed me to really focus on what the first step in my engineering career would be.

Work placement

My placement was with Jacobs engineering, a consultancy company located on the Quayside. I worked in the power networks team, I was responsible for performing electrical system studies and designing the earthing systems for renewable generation sites across the UK. The majority of the power team I worked in then moved to GHD.

The placement couldn’t have been more perfect; not only did it provide me with the job I have today, it also gave me experience in working in a real world engineering team. Working to deadlines and learning new software are just a few of the skills I developed whilst on placement. It also allowed me to put into practice the knowledge and theory I had learnt at university into current engineering projects.

Top tips

Read into all of the modules and research what path each module will allow you to take. Don’t let a module put you off if it allows you to do a module you are interested in.

Don’t be shy. Ask all the questions you can think of, whether you think they are stupid or not. No one will think less of you if you ask. They will mind if you just sit there and ponder for a few days not getting anywhere and wasting company time.

Take notes on everything when you arrive. The learning curve is steep and challenging, but taking good and organised notes helps unbelievably. Unfortunately, I did not and this did initially set me back. So once you learn something, write it down.

Remembering Newcastle

This is probably the toughest question on here. It will have to be my final year house and house mates. The memories of this house and the friends in it are countless and I will never forget.