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Tom Gallagher

Career Path: Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Atkins
Location: Warrington, UK

I had always performed well in science and mathematics subjects throughout school and sixth form. I thought engineering would be a fit for me, despite not having the practical/hands-on side to me that many prospective engineering students have. During my first year, I was relieved to realise my thoughts were right. My interest into the engineering discipline expanded throughout my studies, particularly into renewable and sustainable aspects. I went on to study an MSc in Renewable Energy and Clean Technology and have now secured a position as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer at a large design and consultancy firm.

What are you doing now?Tom Gallagher

I began Atkins' Graduate Development Program in September 2019 as a Mechanical Engineer in their Infrastructure division. As part of the MEP team in Water and Wastewater, my role involves working on a variety of projects for water utility companies. These projects range from design of pumping stations to consulting services.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

The city, the large student population and the culture.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

A variety of lectures, lab work and seminars. Group work enabled the application of knowledge to real-world scenarios and mirrors professional challenges.

How connected was your course with industry?

A year in industry was strongly encouraged and the University facilitated the process of securing one. My final year involved a number of industry guest speakers to advertise job roles and shed light on career prospects.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

My year in industry at Vauxhall Motors was an invaluable preview to working life prior to beginning final year. Knowledge gained from my studies helped me to perform well in my role. Also, when returning to study, I felt my organisational skills had improved greatly, assisting me in my final year studies.

What was the best thing about your course?

The variety of group projects.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Achieving a degree accredited by the IMechE is recognised in the industry and invaluable to securing a mechanical engineering position. The technical knowledge and interpersonal skills gained throughout the course gave me the confidence to begin a successful career.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Interpersonal, organisational skills. Ability to work both in a group and independently.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Social activities and student atmosphere.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Enriching. Challenging. Worthwhile.

For more information about me visit:

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