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Meet our Design Placement Student, Alex

Posted: 15th September 2023

Alex joined Rotary Power for his placement year whilst studying at Durham University. He has supported the design and engineering team during his time with us and has successfully secured a permanent position as part of the team once completing his degree. Alex tells us about his year whilst working at Rotary Power…

What appealed to you about engineering?

Engineering has always interested me and it became more apparent whilst studying Mechanical Engineering at Durham University that I’d like to pursue a career in it. I like problem-solving as well as understanding the maths behind it all. I enjoy working on a concept or design and watching it turn into a final product.

What stood out to you to choose Rotary Power for your placement year?

I wanted to stay local and the North East has a lot of well-respected engineering firms, so why look anywhere else?!

Being able to expand my theoretical knowledge whilst developing practical experience was important to me. The Rotary Power manufacturing facility is very close to the main office, so I knew when I visited the site that this would allow me to gain hands-on experience.

What projects have you been working on during your time at Rotary Power?

I’ve been working on the latest generation of cam radial piston motors and investigating further optimising the design of our XJ05 motors. We are now physically testing the motor and it’s interesting to see the effect of the design improvements!

Alongside that, I’ve been supporting the team with other projects which have all been a massive learning curve!

What have you found interesting whilst working at Rotary Power?

I’ve learnt so much this past year, from understanding the working principals of hydraulic motors, to methods of manufacture and the day to day running of the design department. I underestimated how many steps there were from initial project kick off to a completion date, which has made me appreciate engineering so much more. The knowledge and skills I’ve gained this past year will help tremendously when I go back to study for my final year at university.

Do you have any favourite memories or highlights to share?

Everyone has been really supportive and I’ve felt very welcome as part of the team from day one.

I was recently given the amazing opportunity to visit our India facility, where I spent a week with the engineering team. I was able to observe the build of the new motor and carry out some initial testing. The culture and processes are very different compared to the UK, but it was definitely an opportunity not to be missed!

Also, the monthly Street Food at Simonside event has been a bonus!

What are your plans once you graduate?

I’ve been lucky enough to be offered a permanent position at Rotary Power so my plan is to return as a qualified Graduate Design Engineer! I’m looking forward to coming back to see all of my colleagues and working with the team again.

Well done for securing a permanent role! What are your future career plans?

In the near future I’d like to be involved with different projects so that I can gain a greater overall understanding of my role. To me, the more projects I work on, the more interesting and challenging the job becomes.

A long term goal of mine would be managing a project myself, I’ve spent a lot of time with my line manager, Andrew Myers, who has been very supportive and I think I’d like to work towards being a manager myself one day so I’m able to support a wider team.

When you’re away from engineering, what do you get up to?

When I’m away from work I like to play the piano and I also enjoy singing. I’m a water sports enthusiast, getting outside as often as I can to go paddle boarding or windsurfing, so it’s handy living in the North East and being so close to the sea!

Find out more about the opportunities available across the British Engines Group.

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