Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd
At school, I was interested in mechanics and electronics and living in Lancashire, I was able to join the local 'Young Engineers Club' run by BAE Systems on Saturdays. I decided that I wanted to be an engineer, but where I lived unemployment was an issue, so I thought it best to leave school at 16, and train as an apprentice at one of the local firms, taking an HNC whilst working. I signed on with BNFL and took my ONC 18 months later, followed by an HNC. My training manager at BNFL suggested that I should take Maths A Level as well, as he thought this would be useful for me.
I had never really considered applying to Cambridge until one of my friends went there to study Maths. I visited him and found that Cambridge wasn’t anything like the image portrayed in the media. I applied for a place on one of the summer schools funded by the Sutton Trust which gives students a chance to experience life at Cambridge for a week in the summer.
I applied for a place, even though I did not have the usual entry requirement of three A grades at A Level. I was offered a place on condition that I got an A in Maths at A Level, and distinctions for all my modules in the HNC. I had to do the Maths A Level by studying at home in the evenings on a distance learning course.
I enjoyed the broad overview in the first two years. When I came to specialise my main area was Electrical and Electronic Engineering. However, I also studied some modules on thermodynamics and nuclear power engineering. The flexibility of the Cambridge course means you don’t commit yourself to one particular area before studying them at degree level.
I am now working back at Westinghouse as a graduate trainee. The scheme consists of a number of placements designed to give a range of experience. I am currently working as an Assistant Plant Manager in a chemical plant. This role entails engineering responsibilities as well as management of people and processes. I find the broad knowledge base that the Cambridge degree has given me invaluable, as engineering is very rarely confined to one specialist area.
At Cambridge I joined in with a group that helps teach in local schools. I spent one afternoon a week doing that and it was good fun, although exhausting. I also got involved with many activities as a Science and Engineering Ambassador. I am very keen to promote engineering in schools, and this is something I am continuing to do now that I am working.
Throughout his undergraduate studies David had sponsorship from BNFL of £2400 a year and a Whitworth Scholarship of £3000 a year.