We talk to NanoSUN’s Graduate Project Engineer, Bethany Ladd, on her journey to becoming an engineer and her transition into a professional role following university.
Having recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, Beth tells us about her initial experience as an intern with NanoSUN and the benefits of joining NanoSUN’s Graduate Scheme.
I first experienced working with NanoSUN back in the summer of 2020, when I joined the company for an 8-week placement as an intern. Here, I was given the opportunity to work with both the Engineering and Research & Development teams to develop my skills in real engineering scenarios.
As part of the Engineering Team, I was able to work on the Pioneer 135 project, NanoSUN’s prototype hydrogen refuelling station, which helped me to prepare documents for the project’s HAZOP analysis. This allowed me to sit in on HAZOP meetings, giving me a great insight into the process and how it’s run.
I was also given the chance to work within the R&D Department, where I was able to apply the knowledge I had acquired throughout my degree. This allowed me to participate in a project focused on developing a highly reliable method for cooling hydrogen between refuelling stations and hydrogen powered vehicles.
I think most importantly, however, I found that the work I was doing at NanoSUN truly made an impact and was actually being utilised by the team. I don’t think this is something you see very often.
Taking part in the summer placement really gave me a taste of what was to come in my engineering career. It also helped me to understand the growing hydrogen industry which was not an industry that was widely discussed at university due to a larger focus on the Chemical, and Oil & Gases Industries.
At the end of my internship, I was offered a place on NanoSUN’s Graduate Scheme, which validated how much the company valued my work throughout my summer placement.
Now, in my new role as Graduate Project Engineer, I mainly work on creating documentation and completing engineering calculations for important projects. These have included working on a grant funded project looking at the implementation of metering and billing systems into our mobile refuellers and also carrying out a large variety of tasks for NanoSUN’s flagship Pioneer Mobile Hydrogen Refuelling Station project.
Being a part of projects such as these show that NanoSUN gets you working on things that really matter. That makes your contribution to the business worthwhile, all whilst learning in the workplace and receiving vital guidance and support.
The graduate scheme being spread over several departments with rotations throughout the two years is really beneficial. The programme is designed to give you the chance to try different things, so whilst I’m absolutely loving the work I’m doing, it’s nice to know that I will be able to take part in a diverse series of projects before choosing what area of expertise I like most.
My main career goal at the moment, however, is to achieve Chartership with the IChemE. At NanoSUN, I have already gained valuable experience as an engineer and have been able to work both individually and as a team on many different tasks.
My line manager provides me with regular one to one meetings to discuss my personal and professional development. These have been really useful in setting out a key goal each month and then being able to look back and see what I’ve achieved. I feel I have already acquired a wide range of new skills that are applicable across the whole industry and significantly add to my own professional growth.
There’s a lot of support from everyone in the company. Everyone is prepared to give up their time to support you through work, answer questions and try to lend a hand wherever they can.
NanoSUN has such a great community in which everyone from apprentices to the CEO is respected in the same way. The whole leadership team is very supportive of what everyone in the company is doing and is passionate about being involved as much as possible in all employee activities and success.
Starting my first proper job seemed a very intimidating prospect before joining, but everyone at NanoSUN is truly very friendly. There is a great working atmosphere and the network of support throughout the company means there is always help if you need it. The company is also very sociable outside of working hours with lots of socials and meet-ups which makes moving to a new city much easier.
From day one I have felt like an integral part of the team and have been valued for my work and as a person. I really do feel part of a family.
The company has a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how to get there and it’s been amazing to see the progress and development within the whole team since I first started my internship a year and a half ago. Throughout my time at NanoSUN it’s been really exciting to be involved in a company that has such an obvious passion for the work they are doing.
NanoSUN’s passion has now become mine! We all work to deliver a vital step in meeting the demand for hydrogen; to assist in its growth, and the growth of the whole industry with it!
Working in a summer internship is a great way to learn about new industries and find out what you want to do in your future. It will give you an opportunity to experience how your knowledge can be applied in real scenarios and just get stuck in! You will be surrounded by professionals in your field, so there is no better way to have all your questions about engineering, industries, and careers answered!
Find out how you can join NanoSUN's Summer Placement Programme or NanoSUN's Graduate Scheme.