Case Study - Nick


Graduate Name:

Degrees and University:


Secondments Undertaken:

Rolls-Royce Raynesway, Derby– SSNR Sensors (4 months)
Rolls-Royce Raynesway, Derby – Wet side Commissioning (5 months)
Submarines Delivery Agency (SDA) Abbeywood, Bristol - Nuclear Propulsion Safety Assurance Manager – Futures (current placement)

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What made you apply to Nuclear Graduates? Why did the Nuclear Graduates programme stand out?

During my final year of University, I was researching what to do after I graduate and found out about the Nuclear Graduates programme. I was immediately interested in joining the programme as it allowed me to gain experience from at least three professional organisations in only 2 years, whilst also providing me an opportunity to learn more about this industry – which has fascinated me for so many years.

The Nuclear graduates programme stood out to me among the other available programmes due to the high degree of flexibility regarding what you get out of it, which just doesn’t seem present in many other graduate programmes. I was also excited to be able to network with a large number of individuals across a variety of different disciplines and organisational backgrounds.

What kind of work did you do in your role? Describe some key projects you have worked on during your secondments.

My first placement with Rolls-Royce was in Raynesway, Derby in the SSNR sensors team. This team was concerned with the concept, assessment and development of various sensors to be used onboard future-class submarines. While working here I conducted some lab work on a particular testing device, to ensure it was fit for purpose. This was an excellent opportunity for me to gain some practical skills that I was unable to develop at university due to Covid.

For my second placement I was within the Wet Side Commissioning team. This placement primarily involved developing maintenance instructions for various pieces of equipment on site. To do this I had to speak to various SQEP (Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personal) team members and go onto site to fully understand the scope of my work. The placement allowed me to get onto a nuclear-licensed site and learn more about the core production process for current and future class submarines.

Currently, I am just about to start my third placement at the Submarines Delivery Agency (SDA) in Abbey Wood, Bristol within the NP SAMF (Nuclear Propulsion Safety Assurance Manager – Futures) team, where my time will be split between Dreadnaught and AUKUS projects. In this placement, I am hoping to learn more about the different control systems, regulations and mitigation strategies used onboard nuclear submarines to ensure they operate safely, as well as learn more about the role the SDA plays in the delivery of future class submarines.

What opportunities provided by the Nuclear Graduates programme have helped with your professional development?

Quickly after joining the scheme, I signed up for the practical skills training course In Blackpool. This training course offered an introduction to skills such as welding, electrical installation, metalwork, and nuclear simulation training. This allowed me to learn the different practical skills required while constructing and maintaining a nuclear power plant. This has forced me to consider the practical implications of the projects I am involved with, instead of only focusing on the theoretical aspects of a product.

What has been your highlight whilst on the programme?

While working at Rolls-Royce an opportunity presented itself to visit the IMRS (Inspection Maintenance Repair Service) team. This allowed me to learn about the specialized tools and techniques used by the IMRS team to maintain CASD (Continuous At Sea Deterrent). This trip also allowed me to learn more about the wider side of the submarine business, and the different careers available within the defence industry.

What advice would you give a future Nuclear Graduate?

Get involved! Sounds a bit cliché but you really do get out what you put in. The nuclear graduates programme offers a large degree of freedom regarding what you want to get out of the placement, but with that comes responsibility. It is up to you to organize future secondments, CPD opportunities and STEM events. To maximize your benefit from the scheme, make sure you get involved when these opportunities present themselves!