Vicky Harris, Quality Assurance / Quality Control Engineer
Job title: Quality Assurance / Quality Control Engineer
Organisation: RWE Technology Ltd
Qualifications: BSc Mathematics and Physics (University of Warwick)
A Levels: Maths, Physics, and Chemistry
AS Levels: Further Maths, Psychology and Art
Describe your job in a single sentence.
I provide quality assurance and quality control services to new build, re-plant and major plant procurement projects within the energy industry, encompassing conventional fossil fuel power stations and renewable technology.
What does your average week entail?
Visiting suppliers to complete reviews and carry out inspections, plus reporting all the findings to our customers.
What is the best part of your job?
Every new project is different, so you’re always learning new things, meeting new people, and travelling to new places.
What was your favourite bit of studying maths at university?
It was like learning a new language and way of thinking that made expressing physical concepts more intuitive. I liked that it felt special – not something that everyone would know or understand.
Do many mathematicians go into your area of work?
I’m the only one in my company, but I can’t speak for elsewhere.
How did you get into that line of work then?
I joined the company on an Engineering Graduate scheme, so I could try out lots of different areas. This area appealed to me, since I didn’t have an engineering background, and it meant I could get involved with lots of different projects and increase my technical knowledge of all areas of the business.
Which skills you picked up as part of a maths degree do you utilise to be successful in your job?
The ability to think in a logical, methodical manner, and to pay attention to detail.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
For anyone interested in coming into this area from a maths background, I would recommend trying to complete a summer internship/placement with an energy company. Then you'll be able to gain an appreciation of the industry, which will help with job applications and interview questions. I would advise joining a graduate scheme if you’re not sure of the job you want to do, but are keen to join the industry, as there are many opportunities in all areas of the business for numerate graduates.
Date Published: November 17, 2011