Product Design, Defence

Alasdair Holland

I had a strong interest in Design and Technology through school and was delighted to be awarded the Arkwright Scholarship. The scholarship allowed me to build a greater understanding of the role played by an engineer and provided insights which inspired me to pursue a career in engineering.

"World-class solutions require the recruitment of world-class talent. Thales’ breathtaking range of civilian, military and aerospace solutions require the best possible recruits available and the Arkwright Scholars are a key part of our future growth and strategy."

Eve Maywood, Education and Outreach Manager, Thales UK

I studied a combined undergraduate Masters degree in Product Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow and the Glasgow School of Art. This course allowed me to develop a sound understanding of design, engineering and business management. Throughout this course, I had the opportunity to work on projects in collaboration with a diverse range of organisations, including the NHS. For the NHS I designed, engineered and prototyped a home alarm system for vulnerable people and pitched the concept to potential users at an exhibition. The project was shortlisted for an award at Scotland’s Care Accolades for Innovation.

During university, I undertook an internship as a Project Engineer with Babcock International Group, working at Rosyth Dockyard. I worked with a team managing projects associated with the delivery of the Royal Navy’s flagship Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers and liaised with an international contractor commissioning one of the largest cranes in Europe. In this project I gained experience in managing engineering projects and took responsibility for ensuring deadlines and targets were met.

Upon graduation, I joined the Graduate Development Programme at Thales UK. The Programme enhances technical knowledge, increases business awareness and leads to professional registration through project experience and extensive training. Working in the Optronics business within the Defence division of Thales, I have had the opportunity to develop mission critical Optical and Laser Systems for Submarines and Armoured Vehicles. I thoroughly enjoy the vast range of responsibilities within this role which include producing detailed designs, conducting stress and thermal analysis and qualifying products for use in the field.

As a product designer, it is very satisfying to see a product that I worked on being manufactured and make a tangible impact to operations and capabilities. Recently I spent a week at a military vehicle testing facility where I oversaw product qualification and development trials of a new sighting system for an armoured vehicle.

Arkwright opens students minds to the exciting career opportunities available as an engineer, recognising emerging talent and developing students into the technical leaders of tomorrow. Receiving my scholarship from Arkwright has been invaluable to my professional development which is why I continue to support the great work of the Trust.

Arkwright Scholar 2005-2007

The Dulverton Trust

Maths, Physics, Technological Studies, Product Design, Geography, Art & Design, and English

University of Glasgow and the Glasgow School of Art, MEng in Product Design Engineering

Mechanical Engineer, Thales UK