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Spotlight: Sam Penman, Mechanical Design & Safety Engineer at Babcock International (Marine)


Tell us a fun fact about yourself


Whilst at university, I was part of a small team of students that designed and built single seater racecars – racing them at Silverstone.


Tell us about your career journey so far


Whilst at school – I was always interested in the mechanics of how things worked or were put together. This led to me applying to do a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering after school.


My degree was a good blend of theoretical and practical skills – which was further reinforced through industrial placements at Babcock in the project management and quality teams; and through extra-curricular activities at university such as being part of the Formula Student team.


I secured a full time job at Babcock mid-way through my 5th year of uni – and joined the graduate scheme 6 months later. This was a 2 year programme where I had extended placements in the engineering, bids and project teams. During the scheme – I found the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP), which is where I now have a full time position in the Design and Safety Team.


What was your favourite subject in school and why?


At school, I massively enjoyed Graphic Communication (Technical Drawing). I think this was because it helped me outline and communicate my designs and thoughts in various levels of detail.


I also really enjoyed physics and maths – as I really like things to have an answer or a reason. Thinking about it, this is probably why I didn’t enjoy English as I found it too subjective!


What subjects/qualifications are useful in your role?


Maths, Physics, Technical Drawing (Graphic Communication) and English (especially report writing)


What is your favourite thing about your job?


Working as part of a multi-disciplined team where you get the chance to learn from all different perspectives and various levels of experience.


What is a normal day in your role like?


Right now, it’s a bit different to what it looked like at the start of the year!


At the moment, I’m working from home most days. I like to get up early and finish early to make the most of my time at home – so usually I try and get up and start before 7 and finish around half 4. Luckily this means I only work 4 days a week, which is amazing having a long weekend every week!


Typically, I’ll have a few teleconferences where we use screen-sharing and various other tools to allow the teams to work together at the same time, on the same document. This is really good as enables us to see the work progressing in real time.


When I’m not in these collaborative meetings, I’m working on calculation and the reports that follow them up. Reports can either be written like a short book with various sections or as a presentation that we’ll later give to our customers.


When we’re allowed back to the site – my day will be similar, but with less teleconferences and more face to face meetings!


Suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?


A lot of the work we do on site utilises cranes, however the bigger the crane – the more expensive it is. Therefore some sort of “goliath crane” style challenge where kids get the chance to build a crane capable of suspending a set load – using as little material as possible.

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Tel: 01383 626070

Email: sae@sserc.scot

Address: 2 Pitreavie Court, Dunfermline, KY11 8UU

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The UK-wide STEM Ambassador programme is managed by STEM Learning Limited, which operates the National STEM Learning Network, alongside other projects supporting STEM education. To find out more please go to the STEM Learning website