Key Takeaways From Our Careers in Science & Engineering Event

Publish Date: 2023-09-22

As part of our September kick off events, we hosted a Careers in Science & Engineering virtual event, we were joined by extraordinary companies such as Spectris, RAF, Nestle, Berkeley and Mott Macdonald. Here is a bite size blog with the important key takeaways from the event.


Key Note 1 - Spectris

  • At Spectris, they design and manufacture high tech software to make the world more cleaner, healthier & more productive. A business to business organisation and they work with industrial, cars, food and many more industries.

  • Heidi is an apprentice at Spectris and she runs tests on the Mastersizer product and uses CAD to design tools to react to problems.

  • She applied for an apprenticeship after GCSEs because she didn't want to waste 2 years at levels when it wasn’t necessary for level 3 engineering qualifications. She  enjoyed practical projects and would like to increase females in engineering jobs

  • Her week consists of spending 4 days a week at a local training centre or employer site (in year 2 & 3) and then study 1 day a week at college.

  • Challenges through her apprenticeship were the NVQs national vocational qualification designed to test ability to do a job effectively. Understanding & learning how a new department works each 6 months was also challenging. 


Panel Discussion - Making it to the top

  • What are they looking for - Nestle’s apprenticeship programme early next year, designed for engineers working in the food and drink industry, curiosity, and willingness to work. It is also important that students understand the importance of quality and food safety as this can make or break a brand.

  • John from Berkeley said that they look for students who are eager to learn new skills.

  • At Mott Macdonald collaboration, and a want to learn is extremely important. Additionally, they have lots of different opportunities from technician to engineering to sustainability & environmental roles and the applications open October 16th. 

  • How to become chief engineer: The panel's key learnings were to hold a diverse experience whether that be working as  operation manager or in research development, because it’s important to be a rounded person. Furthermore, having lots of experience, getting the best experience for the best opportunity and enjoying it is really important when making it to the top because the long hours are stressful and there is lots of travel so you need to enjoy it.


Key Note 2 - RAF

  • An important difference with roles in the RAF is understanding that the jobs are similar to civilian jobs but there is the aspect of being deployed.

  • The starting salary is 19,000 plus benefits, including lots of travel and activities.

  • Min joining for aviator/ engineering is 15 and 9 months, 3 GCSEs grade ⅘

  • There are a variety of different apprenticeships available for example in Communication, Technology, aviation and much more. 

  • You could get sponsorship in university for example in the defence STEM undergraduate scheme. 

  • Working in the RAF, there are lots of travel opportunities, for example you could be in the desert or Norway for snow landings. The air crew are away for around 2 months a year.


Apprenticeship Panel Discussion

  • Why a degree apprenticeship - because of the industry experience whilst studying at university, which is applicable with engineering because you can see how to apply the theories in real life.

  • What is the Social life like - One of our apprentices moved out of home for her degree apprenticeship and at Mott Macdonald they host an annual sports day and weekly pub nights.

  • The Application process - At the RAF, there is a pre joining aptitude test, then a filter interview, then phase 1 training, it is testing you on taking you from civilian life to a member of military (which includes lots of fitness). 

  • Top tips - show your passion for the industry and people who want to make change show through the interview process and show your eager to learn 

  • At Berkeley there are 7 questions, then an assessment centre then an interview, they are not looking for people with previous knowledge but those who reflect the company's values.

  • One tip to be successful in the workplace - RAF - know how to work in a team and be a team player. At Mott Macdonald  - have a good understanding of the wider industry through the news and what's currently happening.