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Brunel opportunities help to broaden real world knowledge for Engineering alumnus

Andrew Ridgway

Brunel’s academics strived to deliver high quality knowledge and this was backed up by the amazing professional relationships the university has established for its students. These helped broaden my knowledge for the real world.

Andrew, Alumni, Undergraduate

Business Development Director, Blockchain Company

Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies MEng - 2017

From UK

Which country do you currently live in?

South Africa

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

Since graduating from Brunel, I continued to pursue engineering and acquired roles as a Test Engineer at Intertek before becoming a Project Engineer at Rolls-Royce in the Fuel Spray Nozzle team for RR's Aerospace divisions in earl 2018. Upon moving to Cape Town in South Africa late 2019, I secured a job with technology start-up, Blockchain Company, as the Business Development Director.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

At a technology start-up, you're never short of work. The days often change depending on what the company, team and individual goals are for the near-term future which build towards our holistic goal. Often, I am making new connections and networks for the company for a variety of means such as investment, marketing, sales, product growth, etc. I am required to be creative for new ideas while being pragmatic and aligned when developing strategies for the company. It’s incredibly demanding as I am often learning and researching for a variety departments and targets for the company.

What’s been the highlight of your career journey so far?

My career highlight so far was when I was working at Rolls-Royce. I was part of a Research and Development team which was also beginning production. We were a small team and therefore, as a Project Engineer, I would be pulled around onto numerous projects simultaneously. There was a critical in-service project which needed to be completed at the soonest. I worked with the specialist relentlessly on analytics I hadn’t been exposed to before. By the end, the specialist congratulated my degree of knowledge, performance and dedication to complete the analysis safely and on time.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

Brunel produced great engineering opportunities after leaving university. I was overwhelmed with interviews and job offers ranging from aerospace, civil and motorsport. I even had an opportunity to interview at a highly specialised company focused on hypersonic propulsion which aligned with my master’s dissertation. Brunel’s academics strived to deliver high quality knowledge and this was backed up by the amazing professional relationships the university has established for its students. In my experience, I was often exposed to other aspects of engineering such as law and business innovation. These helped broaden my knowledge for the real world.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

Brunel was, and still is, a highly regarded engineering university which was vital to my university choice. However, they offered more prosperous and exciting opportunities educationally, professionally and even personally. The engineering facilities available for students were incredibly influential towards my education and professional experience. The professional networks developed for internship and graduate opportunities were also a great, not only in the UK but ranging from different companies around the world. In addition, being a London-based university and offering programmes like Erasmus, which was an incredible experience personally. The diversity across Brunel’s education, facilities, networks, academics and students was amazing.

What is your best memory of studying here?

I have many amazing memories from studying at Brunel and most of them are attributed to the people that Brunel attract. I made friends from all corners of the world and even with members of staff working at Brunel. The diversity in cultures, background and nationalities through its students and academics created a vibrant, exciting and inclusive community which really personified the social activities in and outside of the university. Whether it was a part of a society, course members and even team members when working on STEM student recruitment activities, the calibre of personalities were interesting and great fun.

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Work for the STEM Ambassador student recruitment team! Lesley and Jaspal look after students like they are one of their own. The teams they recruit are fantastic and the workshops, activities and courses they put together are not only great for the young students they’re delivered to, but they are incredibly rewarding to lead and deliver. The STEM programme and team has inspired so many children to consider careers in the respective industries and most important of all, to try and better themselves in these subjects. It’s a perfect job to have alongside your studies and I had some of my best days at Brunel with the STEM team.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

Believe in yourself and go for whatever is right for you. Your degree is proof that you are capable of anything that you can put your mind to. You are not tied down into a specific industry. Be brave; apply for jobs you think you aren’t qualified for in other industries outside your background; start a business. Do what you want to do! At this point, it’s the rest of your life. You must not be afraid of believing in yourself and getting out of your comfort zone. And for those who already have their plan, go for it!

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