NCUB’s National Campaign Talent 2030 have introduced “a day in the life of” series to give young people a better idea of what a career in engineering might look like but also how varied careers are within the industry. We spoke with Airbus Group’s Abigail Hutty who works in their Space Division.
My name is Abbie and I work for the Airbus Group, in their Space Division. I studied Mechanical Engineering at University, and when I graduated in 2010 I joined Airbus Defence and Space on their graduate scheme. I’ve worked in various departments as part of the scheme, and on various different space missions, but now I work in the Spacecraft Structures Engineering group, leading a team of specialist in our design and development of the ExoMars Rover mission’s structure. ExoMars is a European Space Agency mission- Europe’s first Rover mission to Mars, which is due to launch in 2018.
“Work is pretty flexible with what time we arrive at the office.”
I’m not a morning person, so I get out of bed between 6:30 and 7:30am depending on how many times I hit snooze. Work is pretty flexible with what time we arrive at the office, which is useful in that respect! I drive to work – it’s only a few minutes from my house, and normally start the day by reading my emails with a big mug of tea while I get my brain in gear for the day.
The office I work in is quite big – several hundred people work on all the floors combined. It’s an open-plan office, so it’s quite sociable, but the desks are arranged into groups of 4-6, so those are the colleagues that I speak to the most.
“I’m in charge of 6 to 10 specialist engineers, who are all working on different aspects of the Mars rover structure design.”
The majority of my work is on a computer, writing reports, looking at models and drawings, and communicating design decisions and challenges among my team and out to our manufacturers. I’m in charge of between 6 and 10 specialist engineers, who are all working on different aspects of the Mars rover structure design.
Most mornings I will spend some time going around to each person’s desk and catching up on what they’ve worked on that day, and making sure there are no problems that they’ve found and they have all the information they need to keep going. If there are any design challenges that they need to consult with me on we have a meeting with the group and bring along all the drawings and relevant analysis, and make a decision together on how we need to modify our design to fulfil the requirements, though I get the final say, which is quite a responsibility! Once or twice a month I go out for a meeting with our manufacturers – a separate company who we have contracted to build our structure. We need to have regular meetings to make sure that they can work to our requirements, and that they understand what we need them to do.
“People from different departments all mix together when we eat lunch so it’s good to have a chat and see what everyone else is up to and what they’re working on.”
Again, lunch is quite flexible, so we can take anything from 30 minutes to one and a half hours! If the weather is nice I sometimes walk into town and do some shopping, or have lunch in a cafe with friends. If I just want a quick lunch or it’s raining and cold there is a canteen on site, so I just eat there. People from different departments all mix together when we eat lunch so it’s good to have a chat and see what everyone else is up to and what they’re working on.
I can finish any time from 4:00pm onwards, as long as I work my contacted 37 hours in the week, so if I’m meeting up with friends or want to go somewhere, I might finish at 4, or if I have work to finish I might stay til 6 – it varies. I quite like being able to fit my work around my social and home life like this, so I find this works well.
“I quite like being able to fit my work around my social and home life like this, so I find this works well.”
We’ve just bought a new house so quite often I go home and paint walls, strip wallpaper and things like that. Once a week a group of friends from work meets up for dinner and drinks, and quite often I go into London for events or to meet up with friends who work there. If I’m just having a night in, though, my husband and I are very fond of our food, so we normally take the time to cook a nice dinner from scratch and enjoy eating that, before curling up on the sofa with our cat and reading books, or watching a film.
Talent 2030 is an ambitious campaign to encourage more talented young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering – including software development. Talent 2030 is particularly focused on inspiring more girls to consider careers in these sectors, working jointly with business and universities to undertake outreach into schools and colleges. For further Talent 2030 updates follow them on Twitter @Talent_2030.