A group of EP students had an exclusive tour of the BAE systems site in Rochester. Here, they got a taste of some of the incredible work that is done on site, including the design, development and manufacturing of a range of products that help military personnel throughout the world.
The site has over 14,000 employees and focuses on products ranging from cyber, land and maritime to air crafts (particularly flight control systems and helmets) and more!
The event was kicked off with an introduction from Graduate Systems Engineer, Rebecca Jaggon. The students then had the opportunity to network with managers from a variety of teams, including: the Systems and Software Engineering Manager, the Manufacturing Engineering Manager, the Hardware Engineering Manager and the site’s Procurement Lead.
The students were from a variety of academic backgrounds (including Physics, EDA, Business and one World War Two History Master’s student!). The managers talked them through how they began their careers in BAE and the multiple entry routes available today.
The students also had the opportunity, during their networking lunch, to chat with BAE Systems staff currently undertaking the much sought-after two-year BAE Graduate Scheme. This included a chat with Jay Allen, who recently completed his degree in Computing at the University of Kent, Medway Campus. He explained that the scheme offers a great range of opportunities with four six-month placements, each in a different team. He commended the friendly and accommodating environment at BAE and spoke of how much he enjoys the challenge of learning on the job.
Oxford graduate, Elden Tse, came to BAE with a Master’s of Engineering and had his first taste of the company during his 12-week internship. He succeeded in impressing his manager to such an extent during the placement that he was fast-tracked to the assessment centre stage of the graduate scheme applications, meaning he did not need to complete the online tests.
You can find out more about BAE Systems internships here.
We also had a chat with the trip’s organiser, Rebecca Jaggon, who also began her BAE journey with an internship. She particularly loves the flexibility of working at BAE, with flexible start and finish times around the core working day of 10am-3pm.
She said: ‘This graduate scheme gives you the opportunity to explore, and managers adjust their expectations depending on your abilities meaning you get the opportunity to move around in a variety of areas and see what really suits you.’
The students then split into groups and were taken on a variety of brilliant tours. They were taken around one of the manufacturing floors and given demonstrations of a HUD (Heads-Up Display), which pilots use to navigate their air crafts.
They also toured the Faraday Centre – BAE’s advanced testing facility. This is where all of the site’s products are given an exhaustive range of tests to ensure they are suitable for use in the field. These include exposure to extreme temperatures as well as impact testing and extreme centrifugal force.
BAE Systems also test products from other companies in the Faraday Centre (the most bizarre to date being a custom-made goat oven for a private jet!).
The highlight of the tours for most of the students was the opportunity to have a go on the flight simulator whilst wearing BAE’s state-of-the-art Striker II Helmet!
The experience was brought to a close with an ‘Early Careers’ presentation from Rebecca, which inspired the students to start thinking about their future careers in engineering and business at BAE Systems!
See below for what the students thought of their exclusive tour:
‘A great experience even for non-STEM students! There was lots on the business side to be understood, which I welcomed as an Economics student.’ (Anonymous).
‘The whole tour was incredible, but it was particularly great to have a go on the simulator with the Striker II Helmet!’ Maxine Hart (Postgraduate, School of History).
‘I really enjoyed this experience and I am grateful that I got the opportunity to go!’ James Knight (Stage 1, EDA).
You can find out more about BAE Systems here.