Why Engineering? A work experience view

Kiishi and Hannah have spent the last five days within the Diamond Communications team as part of their work experience week. They've shared their experience, with a special focus on engineering, in this article.

2018 is the Year of Engineering. A national campaign to celebrate the world and wonder of engineering and increase awareness and understanding of what engineers do among young people. Engineering is a vital part of everyday life, from coffee machines and smartphones, to Mars rovers and artificial intelligence.

Project M - Student Sam Rofman with scientists Claire Murray and Julia Parker
Project M - Student Sam Rofman with scientists Claire Murray and Julia Parker
Some ways in which Diamond encourages young people to get into engineering include through open days; the facility hosts five every year as well as workshops for prospective students who are interested in the field of science and engineering. Recently Diamond ran Project M which involved collecting 1000 samples of calcium carbonate from 100 schools across the country. These samples were analysed by Diamond and the results were sent back to the schools to process. They were interested in finding out how different additives affect the forms of calcium carbonate produced. This project was the first ‘citizen science’ project at Diamond and allowed schools to really get involved in a genuine scientific experiment. This is just one example of how Diamond is very much community based and strives to involve local residents and really get people excited about engineering.
We asked a few of the students about what would encourage them to get into engineering. Their answers included, "workshops, open days, glimpses into day-to-day working life and more work experience opportunities like this as it shows you the kind of industry and atmosphere you’d be working in." The engineers and scientists we met advised us to keep our eyes open to new possibilities, things we don’t know, and to be interested in today's technology.
Throughout the week we’ve spoken to many staff members who have tried to persuade us to consider a career in engineering. They all agree that it is a rewarding work environment with many opportunities to grow and develop skills and expertise.
“The main thing is to develop a passion for what you are doing," said Professor Laurent Chapon, the Physical Science Director at Diamond, "continuing to be curious about what you do is the main driving force behind any success."

Q&A with Jim Kay, Head of Engineering

Jim Kay, Head of Engineering
Jim Kay, Head of Engineering
Q: What does your job involve?
A: It’s always interesting, I get to work in a unique environment. We’ve built 33 beamlines, each with different science involved, to generate individual bespoke engineering solutions.
Q: How did you get to this position?
A: I trained as a mechanical engineer. After 10 years of working in private industry at Shell Research Centre, I moved to a national science research facility, Daresbury Laboratory, and worked on accelerators in nuclear physics.
Q: Is this what you always wanted to do or expected to be doing?
A: I was a kid when they put a man on the moon. I was interested in rockets and space. I would go to my neighbours, who had a copy of Encyclopaedia Britannica and ask to read it, looking particularly at the rocket section. So I was interested in Engineering at an early age. I went to university to study engineering and I found myself working at Daresbury. The science done here is similar to the science involved in space engineering so for me that early attraction to space science has found fruition in this job.
Q: How would you encourage young people to get into this type of work?
A: In a similar way to how I was inspired I would encourage them to be interested in the technology of our age. If young people ask questions such as what is going on in their phone, as everyone has a phone in their back pocket nowadays, where could this be going next?
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: Being part of building Diamond! I have been in it from the beginning, I’ve seen it all the way from lines on paper and on CAD [computer aided design] to now. Followed closely now by recruiting all the good people here and seeing all the fun they are having.
Work Experience Students 2018
Work Experience Students 2018
Our Work Experience
We were working with the Communications team for the week, which we both really enjoyed. The role of the Communications team is to ensure effective communications internally and externally through events, publications, PR, the website and other activities. We got to look at ways in which Diamond communicates its science through articles and talks. This then led us to produce our own article which gave us a taste of working in the Communications department.
This work experience has taught us how to work cohesively as a team, to be able to manage tasks and communication well, and given us good insight into fields of engineering we hadn’t previously considered as possible careers.

Written by Kiishi Aluko and Hannah Bailey, 05/07/2018