Akshay Ogale, 24, is a manufacturing engineering graduate at Rolls-Royce. He has a BEng in mechanical engineering from Cardiff University and an MPhil in Industrial systems, manufacturing and management from the University of Cambridge. He has been shortlisted for Graduate Engineer of the Year in the Semta Skills Awards 2016.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
“My dad was an engineer and I always thought his job was much more interesting than the other professionals in my family. I’ve always liked machines and understanding how they work, so studying mechanical engineering was an easy choice.
“But I didn’t know exactly what career I wanted, so I did internships in as many branches of engineering as I could. I worked in gas turbine repairs, manufacturing, energy, telecommunications, automotive, semiconductors and medical technology. It really helped me to make an informed career choice, as well as improving my confidence and people skills, and I’d highly recommend it.
“I eventually specialised in aerospace because of its sheer complexity and the fact that engineering safety is so mission-critical. I wrote my MPhil thesis on the environmental sustainability of aero engines, working closely with Rolls-Royce. I really liked the people, their work ethic and Rolls-Royce’s technology, so I joined the company full-time in January 2015.
Tell us about your experience at Rolls-Royce
“On the graduate training scheme I’ve worked on quality control for the new Trent XWB and Trent 1000 engines and the introduction of a new repair technology for gas turbine vanes. Now I’m in Norway with Rolls-Royce’s marine business. It’s fascinatingly different from aerospace. The manufacturing processes are less complex but there’s a huge range of product lines and families and a much more complicated supply chain to manage.
“I was inspired to enter the Semta Skills Awards by Stefano Persico, who was Graduate of the Year in 2015. I achieved first class honours throughout my academic career and I think I’ve made a big contribution to the business.
“Rolls-Royce likes to give its graduate trainees a lot of early responsibility and I was managing a team of four contractors even on my first project. Now I’m working with our marine suppliers to help them build up capability for our latest products and processes by focusing on knowledge sharing.”
“On a turbine disassembly project I led the procurement and acquisition of a new EDM (electrical discharge machining) unit that will reduce the cycle time for disassembling a turbine significantly as well as producing considerable cost savings. Overall Rolls-Royce will save thousands of pounds a year thanks to the equipment that I helped to implement.
“I’m also a STEM ambassador for Rolls-Royce and worked with the Scout Association to organise a fun day for 800 cubs and beavers last summer. We did things like flying rockets and making spaghetti towers. I think I was more nervous talking to five-year-olds than a room full of engineers, but if they went home realising that engineers don’t just fix cars then I’m happy!
“The thing I like best is implementing pioneering technology that’s never been done before. There’s a huge demand for cleaner and greener engines and in future I’d like to become a senior engineer for capability acquisition, identifying and acquiring the technologies to help achieve those improvements.”