Working on a Destroyer class Navy ship, fixing missile equipment, travelling across the UK getting her hands dirty, Georgina's latest placement with MBDA has been a great adventure.
I'm now in the third year of my apprenticeship so it's close to an end placement wise. I have two placements left after this one, then I will find out where my permanent job is within MBDA and start my training for that in January. My currently placement is known as customer support services (CSS). I started this placement straight after Christmas and I've hardly been on the Stevenage site for most of it.
On the day I started I was sent up to Scotland for the week to work on HMS Daring, which is a type 45 ship (Destroyer). I went up there as a mechanical and electrical apprentice where I was able to get my hands dirty and play with some of the electrical equipment which MBDA makes. During that week I was changing parts of the test equipment on board the ship such as control switches, cables, pins etc and then using lots of long processes to test it by hand.
In the third week of this placement I went to Scotland again to a place called Beith. I was sent there to help fault find and fix the problem within a piece of kit that tests and simulates the missiles. This process took three days to complete as the cable problem which had occurred was as usual the last thing we checked, and then once found it was also extremely fiddly to remove and replace.
The week after that I was sent to another dockyard where I was able to work among the naval officers upon HMS Diamond which is also a type 45 ship (Destroyer). This trip was more maintenance: very hands on and very dirty so had to wear gloves and a boiler suit all week.
This job entailed of getting everything in the missile containers (silos) greased up and torque tightened to ensure that everything was ready for service as HMS Diamond was to leave the dockyard the Tuesday after we had gone. Once everything inside the ship was completed it was then time to work on top deck. This was mostly the same checks and greasing but to the hatches, that - commanded by the onboard equipment - open to allow the missile to escape from the ship and lock on its target.
I have also recently returned from working in North Luthenham which is an RAF base where I spent three days working on the Rapier weapon system, which was really helpful and good fun.
I still have two months left in this placement and so far I have a trip to the Hebrides planned at the end of February to assist in missile firings and work on army bases. Until then I am working in Stevenage in a design and modelling department within CSS, college one day a week studying my HNC and am still managing work experience students that come on site to learn about MBDA and the working life both from engineering perspective and business. I'm definitely kept busy!