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Insights A day in the life of a mechanical engineer

For our 'Day in the Life' articles, we spoke to Tom Canneaux who is a mechanical design engineer in ADS&T (Aerospace, Defence, Security & Technology).

Tell us how your day starts

My alarm goes off at 5:30 am and after I’ve woken up and got ready, I drive from Bristol to Aldermaston. Luckily, I have developed a good working relationship with my client and they are happy for me to be flexible and work from the Bristol office too, so this isn’t every day!

What are you responsible for in your role?

I’m responsible for delivering a key package of work that involves project management, design engineering, stress engineering, contractor management and more. I also host design reviews, produce design reports, research requirements, write technical specifications and attend factory acceptance tests. It’s a very broad role encompassing lots of engineering disciplines.

How did you come to work for AtkinsRéalis?

I got the job through my reputation as a reliable engineer with solid design skills having previously worked across Defence, Energy, Nuclear and Aerospace. A project manager I previously worked with, who was no longer in my direct department, recommended me.

Tell us about your typical day

My typical day involves any number of things; closing out design actions, checking in with the sub-contractors to ensure they are still on target, CAD modelling and drafting, reviewing and writing technical reports, commenting on proposals and team meetings to name just a few.

What is your most memorable career moment?

My most memorable career moment was working on designing a repair solution for a damaged power-plant boiler. This was concept design all the way through to installation and commissioning. We started with a problem and had to deliver a feasible solution, determine the fabrication, plan the installation and ensure it could be decommissioned. It was a fast-paced project where innovation was key to satisfying the customer.

What's the worst part about your job?

The worst part of my job is working away from home, but within AtkinsRéalis, it pays to put yourself out there. Jumping on opportunities ensures you get a broad range. My last secondment has almost ticked all my remaining boxes for IMechE chartership.

What's the best part about your job?

The best part of my job is that I’ve been able to work across lots of different AtkinsRéalis businesses. Each comes with its own challenges but it ensures you develop skills you otherwise might not have had the opportunity to. Through this, I have improved my engineering knowledge and am much more comfortable tackling bigger and more complex challenges.

What do you do when you're not working?

After work I am either building my house, building my campervan or fixing my car - the engineering never stops! I do like to kitesurf though and am a keen bodyboarder.

Find your next mechanical engineering role with AtkinsRéalis.

If you've been inspired by Tom's story, find out more about mechanical engineering at AtkinsRéalis , or browse our available mechanical engineering jobs.

Alternatively, if you'd like to hear more from Tom, check out the video below to learn about his transferable skills and how working for AtkinsRéalis has allowed him to work across a broad spectrum of clients and sectors, including nuclear, rail, wind and defence.