Michael Roberts

"I think the placement has put everything I do at university into perspective.

It has given me the context in which the theory I have learned can be put into practice."

Michael Roberts
Computer Systems Engineering
(with a Year in Industry at Airbus)

How did you find your Year in Industry placement?
The placement was invaluable experience for me. The year was filled with so many challenges that I’ve not had to face before in neither my personal nor university life and gave me the experience to deal with these in a professional environment. While the year was a daunting experience, there was always the support I needed from the staff at Airbus who were always happy to help and were always keen to improve my experiences.

What are you doing on your placement?
I work in the Airworthiness department at Airbus. This involves reviewing modifications that are planned for the aircraft and analysing the impacts to safety/airworthiness. These modifications are made to both in-service aircraft and aircraft still under development/certification, and include improvements to structure, lightning strike capabilities etc. The role requires that I ensure the modification conforms to the regulations set out by the aviation authorities and remain airworthy for their allocated life limit.

What has been the best thing?
The best part of the placement is getting involved in a real engineering industry where innovation is key to its development. I have learned a great deal about the aviation industry, as well as how projects are managed from conception to their delivery and hope to continue with this after graduation.

What has been the biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge for me was how unprepared I was for this kind of environment. While I gained theoretical and practical experience in university, there is nothing that can prepare you for real experience in the industry until you are put in that situation. I have found there was a very steep learning curve where I had to apply the theory to the practical, but there will always be something more you can learn and improve.

How has the placement complemented your studies?
I think the placement has put everything I do at university into perspective. It has given me the context in which the theory I have learnt can be put into practice, as well as adding to the knowledge that can be used in my studies (e.g. my final year project).

What have you got out of your placement?
I have developed a technical knowledge of aircraft and how all of its components are integrated with each other, an understanding of project management, and a thought process that is necessary to tackle engineering problems effectively. I’ve communicated with a transnational group of people and gained the confidence I needed to be able to handle stressful situations with important deadlines.