Georgina Harper - Summer/Autumn 2010 diary entry

As an MBDA engineering apprentice Georgina has spent the summer smashing stuff up, getting VIP treatment on company business trips and becoming a mentor.

Georgina Harper Over the last few months I have been very busy within the company, away on company business and school events. Since my last entry I have changed departments from manufacturing to the materials laboratory. Within this new placement I am able to use different chemicals to test on solid materials such as Carbon-silicon carbide (C-SiC), steel and aluminium. I am also able to use furnaces, x-ray machines and microscopes.

The materials lab - getting paid to break stuff

This placement has been really enjoyable as I have been able to purposely smash things up and melt them! I have also had the intense stuff to do like salt tests. This is a test I ran for 720 hours keeping bolts in a constant spray of salty water. It was to see if after they had any form of rust on them, and then write a report on how this would affect them if it were in a live missile.

Testing experience

I also ran a sun test on two sealants that may be used to seal the container of a missile. The purpose of this test was to see if the sealant could last and still perform to its best ability under a constant sunray without degrading and affect the lid being closed on the container.

I am now near the end of my placement in the labs and will be sad to go due to all the interesting work I have been given to complete. But I'll be moving onto test equipment design, which I have also heard good things about.

HNC study as an apprentice

I have now started college again too. This year I will be studying my first year of the HNC. My lessons are for a full day each Monday, and are in quality assurance, engineering designs, health and safety, engineering science and maths.

Special opportunities as an MBDA apprentice

Within the last few months I have spent two weekends away on company business. The first weekend spent away was in Somerset, working at the Yeovil Air Show. I represented the company at our stands, talking to the public about the products we make and answering any questions they had about MBDA. While I was there I also got to view the air shows, which included displays by the Red Arrows and a Vulcan. They were amazing to watch.

The second weekend I worked away was in Portsmouth where I worked three days at Navy Days. I found this weekend really enjoyable too as even though I was representing the company and answering the public's questions on MBDA products as in Yeovil, I was able to get VIP tours around the Westminster ship and HMS Daring. This was most enjoyable and after seeing where they sleep I definitely know I could never do anything like that. Ever!

Becoming a mentor

Through work I have also taken a group of school children to the Farnborough Air Show, as a mentor. This involved me looking after a group of students, taking them around all the career stands, collecting any information from these that they felt would help them decide what they will go into doing in the future, taking part in activities such as quizzes and puzzles and finally watching the air show itself.

During late September I also got involved in what is known as interactive week at work, where I gave site tours to groups of people whom have just been hired by MBDA.

Lastly I attended Cheshunt School, where I represented MBDA and female engineers. For this I was talking to 15 year old students about myself, my job, and how I became an engineering apprentice.