- Course: Mechanical Engineering (Industrial) MEng
- Company: The Association of Train Operating Companies
What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). As their name suggests, they are a trade association for different train and freight operating companies. ATOC compromises of many different departments; a few of them include: National Rail Enquires, Rail Settlement Plan and Engineering, Major Projects and Operations – this is the department where I carried out my placement. The engineering department work on the design, manufacturing, technical and electronic aspects of the train. The team works on facilitating engineering improvements in reliability and efficiency of the passenger rolling stock among the members. These are then shared as “best practice” amongst the members.
What is your role within the company?
I was a Project Engineer in the engineering, major projects and operations team. Throughout my time at ATOC, I supported the engineering (majorly), operations and major project teams with various projects. I was required to attend meetings, prepare papers and present at meetings when required. As a project engineer I was on hand, and available to support the engineering team whenever and wherever possible. Along with my role I was also able to partake in the Railway Engineering Graduate Scheme (REGS), this allowed me to embark on placements and courses that help build up my competence in becoming a Charted Engineer.
Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?
There has not really been a typical day in the role as it is so varied, but my my tasks can include:
• Working on tasks towards deliverables for projects
• Attending regular and project oriented meetings across the country
• Preparing and delivering papers and presentation to our members
• Attending conferences
• Undertaking placements or courses with other graduates in the industry
What are you enjoying the most and are you involved in any interesting projects?
I am particularly enjoying the variety the placement provides. As a mechanical engineer, I am perhaps more familiar in research, testing and manufacturing oriented type of roles. This role provides a vast exposure in the wider railway industry whilst allowing me to develop my core mechanical engineering competences.
I have been supporting a colleague in delivering some predictive tool prototypes for the European Rail Traffic Management system (ERTMS). ERTMS comprises of the European Train Control System (ETCS), the Global System for Mobile communications – Railway (GSM-R), Traffic Management Systems (TMS) and operating rules. I am required to analyse spreadsheets from various data entry systems like Data Reporting Analysis and Corrective Action System or Defect Report and Corrective Action System (DRACAS) and TRainRUnning SysTem Tops (TRUST) in order to determine the validity of conclusions used to develop the prototypes.
Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?
I took the year in industry to gain some first-hand experience of the professional world prior to my graduation. In particular to see a glimpse of what lies ahead in terms of a career as a Mechanical Engineer.
What are you hoping to get out of this experience?
A thorough appreciation of the railway industry along with widening my professional network.
Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?
Do it and make the most of it when you get it!
Find out what the company is looking for, don’t be afraid to be yourself at the interview stages, the employer wants to see who you really are. Studying at mechanical engineering at Leeds University will have prepared you technically.