Robert Wild - UK Nuclear Graduate of the Year
Since graduating, Robert has worked as a mechanical design engineer and helped design a robotic arm
Follow Robert on Twitter: @R0bwild
“Since I was little I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. I remember playing with Meccano and K’Nex kits. That interest has remained and it’s why I studied mechanical engineering at LJMU. If you’re thinking about studying engineering, I really recommend it. There are a wealth of jobs, great future potential, you get to travel the world and you can pretty much work in any sector.
“I’m now a Mechanical Design Engineer at Sellafield – a nuclear waste management company. I’m not doing hands-on engineering. It’s more about knowing the principals and having high-level engineering knowledge. Saying that, I was part of a team that designed a robot arm. The arm was used for decommissioning nuclear gloveboxes.
“I joined Sellafield through their graduate training scheme. To apply, I had to complete an application form. My lecturers were really helpful with this. If you’re thinking of applying, ask your tutors for support. I then had to do a video interview and online assessments. The final stage was an assessment day.
“The training scheme was excellent. It lasts for two years and you move around the business working on a number of secondments. Sellafield even let me do an external secondment to Cammell Laird - the shipbuilders."
I work with people from the best universities in the world and students from LJMU stand toe-to-toe with them. We actually blow other graduates out of the water.
“For me, the transition from student-life to work wasn’t hard. LJMU prepares you for work and my course was especially suited to Sellafield. We use the same CAD software and the same mathematical software. My course also focused on practical, applied learning. That meant I had a lot of relevant experience.
“If you’re a student, my biggest tip is get involved with activities outside your course. I was part of the LJMU Racing Team and I ran the ski club. I also got involved in STEM activities, teaching in colleges and schools and did four summers with Camp America in New York.
“In 2016 I was awarded the UK Nuclear Graduate of the Year. I was really shocked. I’d seen some of the other candidates and they were really strong. Only one person receives the award so it was a great honour. I think my work in STEM and the fact that I’ve led my own career were part of the reason I was chosen. I’ve also sat on committees and have always tried to do over and above what was expected.
“In 2015, I was also awarded Sellafield Ltd Graduate of the Year. I work with fantastically talented people. So to be considered against those people meant a lot.
“In the future, I hope to be chartered and be in a high-profile decommissioning job within the nuclear industry.”
Robert's tips for students
1. Do what you enjoy. Don’t do a course or follow a career because someone told you to do it. If you do something you love, it will turn out okay in the end.
2. Make the most of being at uni. Get involved with societies and extra-curricular activities as soon as possible. I wish I had sooner. You’ll learn a lot, it looks great on your CV and you get to mix with different types of people you might not ever had met on your course.
3. Go above and beyond. Always do what’s expected of you and then do a bit more.
4. Assessment days for graduate jobs can be daunting. Make sure you research the company and understand their goals. And if you don’t know the answer, say so. Don’t make something up. It doesn’t go down well.
My day starts at 6am. I get into the office for 7.30am and start the day by checking my emails. At 9am we have a team meeting and I’ll then head to a design review with the draughtsman.
I spend time on projects in the afternoon. Normally I’ll also attend the quality manager meeting before a final catch up with the team at the end of the day.
I leave work around 4pm. I’m renovating my house at the moment, so I’m doing a lot of painting and decorating in the evening. But I still find time to play the odd game of squash.