Cameron, Graduate Scientist

How long have you worked at AWE?     
3 Months – I Started the Evolve graduate scheme in December 2022.

Why did you choose AWE?- what attracted you?
I chose AWE due to the varied, interesting opportunities that the graduate scheme offers. I felt experiencing a variety of placements spanning the entire business would be a really engaging introduction to a career with AWE. The learning opportunities associated with being able to tailor my time on the Evolve graduate scheme were also a huge selling point for me as I can adjust my role to areas that both interested me and allow me to develop the most.
I studied chemistry at university and AWE has introduced me to processes and areas of science that would be completely inaccessible at most other businesses nationally.
I have found that approaching challenges with an open mind has allowed me to develop rapidly both technically and professionally.

Tell us about your time at AWE?- What do you do?
During my first placement I have worked with the Dosimetry Services team within Radiochemistry.  My team consists of other recent university graduates, apprentices, and placement students as well as experienced scientists and technicians in their fields of work. Day-to-day my time is currently spread evenly between analytical lab work and time spent in the office, attending meetings and working on project work.
On the graduate scheme I am also given lots of opportunities to meet with subject matter experts to better understand the business and attend development days.
I have also become part of the Shadow ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Committee where myself and other grads/apprentices and young professionals discuss issues and areas we can develop before feeding back to the ESG Committee at an executive level of the business.

What’s the best thing about working in the STEM industry?
The best things about working in STEM are being able to meet and interact with a wide range of subject matter experts and hear their stories, as well as being able to get involved with a variety of interesting projects not available in any other industry. These are great for someone in my position, as it allows me to see the potential different pathways that people can take in a career in STEM and determine how I would like to make my own journey. Additionally, the opportunity to be able to take part in such a variety of specialised projects means that work stays interesting.

Who inspired you to have a career in STEM?
I did not have any specific individuals that inspired me to pursue STEM and I did not personally know anyone who worked in the science industry. However, I did have a supportive family and teachers at both primary and secondary school. They worked hard to make lessons interesting and would take time to inform classes of different opportunities that would become available to us as careers.

How do you see your career progressing?
I would like to finish the graduate scheme having visited a variety of areas of the business, using this time to grasp opportunities and narrow down which areas of chemistry at AWE most appeal to me. In the long term I would like to develop my technical knowledge across the board before moving into areas of the business where I am able to apply my problem-solving skills.

Why are events such as British Science Week so important?
These kinds of events are important as they provide the information to those who may not be lucky enough to be surrounded by a supportive community that provides information in the same way I had whilst growing up. Recently I was able to attend University Careers fair on behalf of AWE to promote the engineering Evolve graduate scheme. During these events, other than those local to the area so many people had never considered a career in this area, so the importance of outreach in STEM is super important going forwards!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in STEM?
Keep practicing. Science and Maths can take time to finally “click”. Everything you are learning through your academic career create the building blocks of your knowledge that will help you in technical interviews for STEM roles and allow you to quickly adapt to new situations on placements and jobs.