Amali Colombage

On a day to day basis the key responsibilities within my current position are to design and detail engineering solutions to client specifications and tender documents for lifting and suspension equipment for the entertainment industry, museums and industrial use. But every now and again I get the opportunity to travel on site visits to perform site surveys and so on.

The most enjoyable side of my role is coming up with new designs and travelling on site visits to perform surveys and seeing different venues. Seeing your design come to life is a very satisfying feeling. It can be challenging sometimes to design to client’s needs but ensure your design is structurally stable and up to standards at the same time.

I have been very fortunate to have been offered a permanent role as a design engineer before I graduated and I have been in this role since the beginning of my third year.

I have the Northants Engineering Training Partnership (NETP) and Tricia Goodchild (Placement Manager) to thank for this job opportunity and two other work placements they provided me with during my second year that helped me enormously to self-develop myself, gain experience in the relevant field, get recognised in the industry and boost my confidence.

The whole University experience has been very enjoyable and has taught me that engineering knowledge isn’t always enough in the work place. It’s taught me how to present myself, work efficiently in a team and deliver on time.

I was privileged to have got two six month placements through the NETP during my second year at two multinational companies that are well recognised – therefore the references and the experience I got from them were very valuable. My current position as a design engineer was a ‘dream come true’, I didn’t have to worry about finding a job when I graduated and I absolutely love what I do.

Out of all the skills and knowledge gained on my degree, design, mathematics and mechanics are the most used in my current job but the non-academic skills like presentation skills are quite useful when presenting your ideas in the workplace.

In terms of giving advice to undergraduates interested in this work, I’d say it is very important that you get involved in extracurricular activities during your study as a student ambassador or even just attending events because when it comes to job hunting the contacts you have with the people in the industry become so useful. A job opportunity can come from anyone. Always try to find work experience in the relevant field if possible even if it is for a short period of time, it can look impressive on your CV.

Getting a degree in general engineering meant that I had more career paths to choose from and that is exactly what my course provided me with. The University has not only provided me with a qualification but also helped me endlessly to become what I am today through getting me involved as a student ambassador, work placements and may other ways. So I would like to say ‘thank you’.