Ann D.

Programme Lead
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Ann D.
United Kingdom

My employment

Programme Lead
United Kingdom
Engineering and manufacturing
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Programme Lead in the United Kingdom

I first worked for Rolls-Royce as an intern between my second and third years of uni, which then led to me being offered a place on the graduate scheme.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for Rolls-Royce plc - so we make engines for planes, not cars! The bulk of our business is for Civil Aerospace, making engines for widebody planes, but we also make engines for Defence aircraft and various Power Systems.

What do you do?

I currently work in our Bristol site supporting two in-production aero engines. My focus is specifically on cost and supply chain management, meaning that I work with lots of people throughout the organisation to keep things moving! This can range from calls with suppliers and procurement specialists to being on factory floor looking at engine parts and talking directly to manufacturing specialists. I also support Rolls-Royce's STEM outreach programmes in the UK.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I actually first worked for Rolls-Royce as an intern between my second and third years of uni, which then led to me being offered a place on the graduate scheme. I used Bright Network and LinkedIn extensively while I was job-hunting - both of those are great, especially for people studying a degree that doesn't necessarily lead to an obvious career choice. It's really important to think about how your experiences on your degree make you stand out - there are lots of things that are transferable! Think about how you handled challenges (time management!), why you chose your degree, what motivates you - all these things are important to understand in the world of work. For me, I knew I liked to be busy, have the opportunity to learn lots of different things, and be around lots of people, all of which is ticked by working for a big company in project management.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Definitely! I don't think I could have predicted I'd be working for an aerospace engineering company when I started my history degree, and I definitely couldn't have forseen the construction-based work that I do at the moment. I think it demonstrates how well-rounded York graduates are - I absolutely would not be here without the basis that I got from my degree.

Describe your most memorable day at work

It's really difficult to pick out just one day. One of my favourite things about this job is that it is fast-paced and dynamic, so I get to do lots of different exciting things. For me, any day that I get to go and be on the factory floor or working closely with one of our engineering teams is a really great day. Seeing the engines being built and hearing how passionate my colleagues are is super motivational, plus some of the developing technology we have is really cool - Rolls-Royce recently broke new new world speed records for electric flight!

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

By far the most influential extra-curricular activity I did at university was York Community Consulting. As part of their project teams and then committee, I got to work across a whole range of projects that not only gave me some solid experience, but also allowed me to give back to the community. It especially helped me to start to understand my leadership style and how I work with other people, which was invaluable when starting at Rolls-Royce. Any experience that pushes you to grow and challenges your way of thinking is going to be useful - plus it helps you grow your network beyond just the people you study and live with! I'm still in touch with a lot of my fellow YCC alum, and their advice continues to be super helpful.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Having an open mind is really important - there is a job out there for nearly anything, and a lot of companies use really strange job titles, so read descriptions carefully! There's also lots of opportunities outside of London. If you feel comfortable, moving to a new city is great for your personal growth. It can seem a bit bleak out there at the moment, and you will get lots of rejections - ask for feedback, and learn! There's also loads of free learning and advice resources available, which can act as a substitute for hands-on experience if you're stuck at home.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Project management, personal & professional development, how to sell yourself (even when you hate the thought of that), interview technique, working in a sector that appears to have nothing to do with your degree, anything else that appears in my profile.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Ann’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Ann a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Ann to be your mentor.

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