Mechanical Engineer at AECOM
As someone who has always been interested in what I can do to fight climate change, this degree has set me up perfectly to make my mark on an industry which contributes towards 40% of carbon emissions in the UK.
What have you done since leaving the University of Nottingham?
I undertook a summer placement at AECOM during my time on the course and ended up re-joining the team after I graduated in 2019. I work as a mechanical engineer where I lead project teams in designing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for a variety of office and residential developments in and around London.
Why did you choose to study architectural environment engineering?
At college I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I was studying a mix of maths, physics and graphic design. My careers team recommended that I look into a career in architecture, and it was something that I was quite interested in (always enjoyed watching Grand Designs and as a teen I was really into playing Minecraft).
I ended up doing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) to dip my toe in the water, I was looking at designing a community centre as my local council had just announced plans to do similar near my home in Southampton. I did a lot of sketches and modelling, and one thing I was particularly interested in and did quite a bit of research for was how to make my building sustainable – green walls, solar shading etc.
'I applied to Nottingham for the MEng Architecture course, but unfortunately I didn’t get the grades required. Luckily, based on my personal statement the team at Nottingham offered me a spot on the Architectural Environment Engineering BEng course that was an even better fit for what I was interested in!
If you care about sustainability and want to play a major role in the fight against climate change (Buildings are responsible for 40% of emissions in the UK), then this is the perfect course for you!
What attracted you to study at the University of Nottingham?
For me it was mainly the campus. University Park campus is lovely, you have this little pocket of greenery and central in a major city. I always found that there was a buzz on campus and the facilities were also very nice.
The city of Nottingham is also a lovely place to live. Its central in the country so was easy to get everywhere, and the city itself is very vibrant with lots of nightlife, shopping etc.
How did your time at the university help shape your career?
The course focuses on the fundamentals which is a real strength in my opinion. Not only does it keep your options flexible as you can transition into other fields if you decide to go that way, but it also gives you an excellent foundation to move forwards as an engineer. Engineering is all about problem solving, so knowing the rules you are playing around is invaluable.
The course also focuses on team projects which will be essential going forwards. In industry, every project you work on you will be part of the team. You have the team that you are designing the services within and the larger design team including architects, structural engineers, the client, manufacturers, contractors etc. so developing clear communication and presentation skills sets you up well for the future.
What advice would you give to current engineering students at Nottingham?
It's never too early to start doing stuff for your career! I think focusing on the “job” after you finish is a bit silly, you can start showing your passion and networking while you are in uni. An industry placement is highly recommended – it helps show that you are keen, puts all your education for the following year in context and gives you the edge in employment afterwards (or maybe even secures you an offer at the end of the placement!). It's easy to get involved with The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) as well – start reading the CIBSE Journal and staying up to date with news, you can turn up to events run by the special interest group and try and get involved with your local Young Engineers Network as well.
The course focuses on the fundamentals which is a real strength in my opinion. Not only does it keep your options flexible as you can transition into other fields if you decide to go that way, but it also gives you an excellent foundation to move forwards as an engineer.