FROM EVERYTHING AEROSPACE: AN INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

A Day In The Life: Matt Pearson, 25, deputy chief engineer at BAE systems


YESTERDAY

I did my GCSEs and then went on to take A-levels in physics, chemistry, maths and computing. After I finished school, I went to Bristol University and studied avionics systems engineering. Apart from the fact that I'm a complete aeroplane geek, the thing that really appealed to me about avionics was that it's quite general. I'm really interested in how things work - how different parts are put together to make things function effectively - and avionics seemed like a really good fit for this. It is about how you control an aircraft, how you safely navigate, how you entertain 250 passengers who have to sit in a plane for 14 hours, it's lots of different things.

Avionics also appealed to me because you aren't restricted to working in the aviation industry. There are many other things that you can apply that way of thinking to and subsequently create a career in. For example, being able to understand the way things fit together is good preparation for being a general manager or a leader of an organisation. Or, if you wanted something more technical, you could apply the same skills you learn to working in the automotive industry. Alternatively, avionics gives you a numeracy background that you can apply to the high-tech industry, IT or banking. The fact that it gives you this wide range of careers to chose from really attracted me.

The degree course at Bristol draws on a number of different departments within the faculty - electrical engineering, computer science, maths and aeronautics. You can legitimately go into any one of these fields and know that you have a decent background to perform effectively.

The degree course lasted four years. I really loved it - it was awesome. I left with a first class Masters.

TODAY

In my second year of university I was nominated for an engineering leadership award from The Royal Academy of Engineering. The awards are given to 20 of the best engineering students in the country. I won an award that was sponsored by BAE systems, and this was how I first became involved with BAE.

When I finished my degree I got a place on BAE's fast-track leadership scheme, called Sigma. The idea of Sigma is to develop engineering and business leaders for the organisation. It consists of five years of very intense work. You move around a lot and do some very tough jobs; the idea is to give you a lot of experience in a short space of time.

I have just moved into a new role - I am deputy chief engineer on a new unmanned aircraft, which is pretty cool and a really good position for me. I am at the beginning of the development stage at the moment. Right now my aircraft is nothing more than a few sheets of paper that demonstrate what we want it to be like. We are going from a blank sheet of paper to a fully flying, tested unmanned aircraft pretty quickly. Typically we could do this in 12 months, which is really fast!

Usually my days start with a meeting at 8.30am. That's probably the only part of my job that remains the same. The project I am working on at the moment has a very complex set of stakeholders involved, so sometimes I will be talking about technical things to the engineers who are going to be the end customers of what we are developing. They are really interested in what technologies are going into the project and what the risks are. So, my role mainly consists of reviewing the technical side and managing risk.

TOMORROW

My long-term ambition is to become the chief engineer of a very large aircraft programme or the managing director of an aircraft programme. In a role like that I would be responsible for billions of pounds of technical risk. To get to that point I will need to get as much experience as possible. Being able to acquire the skills to run a project of that magnitude is probably my task for the next few years.

Young people wanting to work in a similar field should be aware that there are lots of opportunities out there, so if you see an opportunity you need to seize it and don't be afraid to make the most out of it.

To find out more about the engineering leadership award visit: www.engineeringleadershipawards.org.uk

For more information on SIGMA go to: www.graduates-baesystems.com/html/sigmaleadershipprogramme.php

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system