Emily Sage, Astrophysics with Mathematics (2012)

Degree: Astrophysics with Mathematics BSc (2.1)
Year Graduated: 2012
Current Employment: F-35 Trials Lead, QinetiQ, Malvern UK

What are your main responsibilities in your current job?

My main role is as the trials lead for off board mission support on the F-35 (Lightning II). This involves planning and running trials up to 6 times per year for the customer and other stakeholders. I have responsibility for a small team and we put together the trial plans, objectives, scenarios as well as gathering the relevant subject matter experts to support the trial. I report directly to the MOD customer for all of my work so it’s vital that I understand his needs and concerns at all times.

I also work part time on another project where I am writing requirements for a future UK command and control capability. In this role I am the lead for information exchange requirements (IERs) and have to gather information from all relevant stakeholders to feed into both the IERs and system requirements.

I am also the lead for our graduate support network, engaging with senior leaders of the business to ensure that graduates and early career starters to the business are given the best support possible throughout their initial two years.

Which skills are important for your job?

It’s really important that I’m methodical with my work. With both testing and requirements generation I must be accurate and systematic in my approach to ensure that stakeholder engagement and comment is not only accurately captured, but also auditable throughout the project’s lifetime.

Soft skills are a really important part of my job since I have so much direct contact with customers and stakeholders.

I also have to draw on the analytical skills developed through my degree at Keele as I have to analyse trial data in order to produce technical reports. These technical reports are delivered directly to the customer to highlight key areas of concern or for further investigation/development.

What are the highlights of your job?

The variety in my job keeps me going. Because of the project-based nature of QinetiQ it’s possible (and indeed very common) to be working on a number of different projects at any one time. This means that I can switch between totally different teams, customers and work regularly, helping to keep me stimulated.

Getting to work directly with and for the customer and a number of stakeholders across the military is something I really enjoy. I like the fact that I spend some of my time in the office at my desk but spend the rest of my time meeting with customers and stakeholders all over the country (and indeed the World, when I’m lucky) or at trials.

I love the responsibility that I’ve been given, especially at such an early stage in my career. I’ve had real opportunity to grow and develop throughout my role and I’ve been on a series of training courses to help further support my personal and professional development.

I also love feeling like I’m contributing to something real - the projects I work on will be used across the UK military and my role has an impact on that. That’s a good feeling!

How did you find your current job?

Initially I visited QinetiQ at the Birmingham careers Fair where I got lots of information on the company and opportunities. I then applied online for the graduate programme although I have actually been employed directly into a role. This means I get all the benefits of doing a real job and the responsibility that comes with a long-term role (that I’ve seen really grow and develop over the two and a half years I’ve been doing it) as well as the support and training that QinetiQ provide all their employees.

Does your employer have a graduate recruitment scheme?

Yes. QinetiQ is a company made up of a number of different ‘businesses’, each taking on different work. Each of these businesses approach graduate recruitment in a slightly different way, meaning our overall ‘programme’ varies across the business.

Find out more here.