Scottish Apprenticeship Week: Flying high with DE&S

Ever wondered how you can work protecting the safety of Great Britain? Well, it’s easy really, thanks to the DE&S graduate scheme as part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Recent graduate Chaniece Truelove shares her journey to working as an aerospace engineering manager.

How did you first hear about the DE&S graduate scheme?

I found the DE&S scheme whilst looking for graduate jobs in my final year of university.

I remember the advertisement for the scheme really standing out to me as it highlighted such a wide range of aircraft that I could have the opportunity to be working with, in support of the UK Armed Forces.

What encouraged you to apply?

I was really amazed with the flexibility of the scheme and how each graduate can create their own tailor-made experience over two years. There is such a vast range of projects within DE&S that graduates have the opportunity to get involved with, but also, having the ability to complete a placement at a Front-Line Command station or within the industry was a completely unique experience that no other graduate scheme offers.

Also, it was evident that the scheme is focused on making it possible to achieve Chartered status in just a few years, whilst being accredited by IMechE, IET, IMarEST, RINA, RAeS and IOP.

During university, in what way was your course driven to enhance your learning?

My university course was based around ensuring that I was given a broad range of skills and experience within the field of Aerospace. Alongside my core studies, I completed various Summer Placements, each focused on allowing me to experience working as an engineer and putting the theoretical skills learned at University into practise.

As a result of one of my Summer placements, I was given the opportunity to take the project I was working on and use it for the topic of my third year dissertation.

The university even further enhanced this by proposing that my work can be published in an Aerospace journal!

During my Master’s year, I was able to take the broad range of skills learned and develop a deeper level of understanding of the subjects.

Also, one of the modules during this year was all about professional practice, leadership and management.

This module gave me more of the softer skills required to easily transition from academia into an engineering role.

What opportunities were made available to you whilst studying with DE&S?

Whilst studying, I was offered the chance to increase my level of involvement with STEM. I volunteered at various STEM events throughout the year and also the Engineering Education Scheme (EES). DE&S has also enabled me to be continually involved in STEM during my graduate scheme.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working in an In-Service delivery team within DE&S is highly rewarding as you gain a great sense of achievement when the work you deliver is directly supporting the UK Armed Forces.

The projects that I have been involved in have allowed me to also visit the aircraft/engines at the RAF Bases regularly. It is on these occasions, experiencing first-hand what effects that my work has, that I felt a great sense of pride in the company and role that I work for.

What has been your career highlight to date?

There have been many different highlights over my short time within DE&S; I was able to visit Boeing in Philadelphia to engage in meetings regarding the Chinook rotor-blades.

This was an incredible experience to represent DE&S in such an environment.

What advice do you have for people considering working with DE&S?

The DESG scheme is an incredible opportunity that is completely unique and extremely rewarding. You are able to organise your own placements, meaning that if you are unsure on the exact role that you would like to fulfil, you can trial multiple different options and test out new ideas whilst building up a great skillset and portfolio of a professional engineer.

Alternatively, if you already know exactly what you would like to do, you can build up a well-selected set of placements to put you in the best position to be able to carry out your desired role.

My advice for anyone starting out on the DESG scheme is to make the most out of every opportunity.  The Graduate scheme will fly-by, so enjoy every second!

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