My Placement at Rolls-Royce
Milan Gill is an Aerospace Systems Engineering BEng (Hons) student currently working as a materials engineering intern working with the Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) team at Rolls-Royce.
What does your role involve and how are you utilising your academic studies?
CMC’s are a next generation material technology known for their advanced thermal capabilities and low density (almost a third lighter relative to their nickel super-alloy predecessors).
My daily duties include highlighting crack initiation points and propagation paths within CMC test specimens and engine components (vanes, blades etc…) with the aid of optical and scanning electron microscopes. I am also involved in CAD work and FEA analysis to look at stress distribution patterns on components, with both simple and complex geometries.
Another major part of my work is programming. I have been scripting a python tool to analyse CMC data (evaluating how the material copes and responds to the harsh environments during testing), and then in turn assessing the quality of the incoming data from test houses.
In terms of how my university studies have prepared me, it was really encouraging to see a lot of what I was taught coming up in industry. For example, I recall questioning why we were taught how to establish top, intermediate and low level system requirements; only for it to pop up in many of my meetings. Other areas in which I utilise what I have learnt is the understanding of FMEA analysis methods, MATLAB work and a good grounding with CAD software (enabling me to pick up a variety of others, aside from CATIA, with relative ease).
What do you think you’ve learnt on placement?
Definitely that prior planning and organisation is key to success. Also that no question is a stupid question and that collaboration heavily aids overcoming seemingly impossible hurdles. If I am ever unsure about a concept or just in general (not work related), all of my colleagues are more than eager to help. The main takeaway so far from this year is that it’s all a learning curve and a great opportunity to learn more.
What would be your advice to any student considering a placement and how did the university’s placement team support you?
Keep applying! Until you secure something don’t stop; I lost count as to how many I applied for - and got rejections from! A placement year is 100% recommended as it’s a great stepping stone into the industry you wish to work in. Not only this, it is a unique opportunity to make some industry contacts.
The university’s employability team offer free advice… SO TAKE IT! Go to as many university and external recruitment events as you can and definitely get your CV reviewed by them – they know what the recruiters like and don’t like.