Design & Analysis

Elizabeth Waterman

I was very proud to be awarded an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, which supported me through my A levels. The Scholarship was a recognition for achievement in my favourite subjects at school, as well as recognising my desire to be an engineer.

 "My Scholarship provided financial support to my school and myself. My school put the money towards a CNC machine so that everybody could put theory into practise by creating components for their projects. The Scholarships don’t just benefit the individual Scholars!"

The skills learnt as part of the Arkwright Scholarship application process – being interviewed by a panel and the team skills of the challenge event - were useful when applying for university. I also mentioned my Arkwright Scholarship on my personal statement and all interviewers were keen to learn more about the scheme (this also reduced the time for difficult questions!). I was pleased to be one of a small group of students sponsored by CITB and I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from a week-long residential course at their construction college. There we learnt about the construction industry, as well as developing team work and presentation skills. After school, I studied at Durham University; I wasn’t sure which branch of engineering to study, so applied for a general engineering course (aware that I didn’t want to cut off any opportunities too early). After studying a range of disciplines I was able to make an informed decision to specialise in mechanical engineering for the final two years of my degree.

Whilst at university and attending a rowing event (of all places!), I met the managing director of a local engineering consultancy. A summer placement with the company between my third and fourth years in Durham led to a permanent job offer. I’ve been working for PDL, a global provider of engineering design and analysis ever since. I enjoy the variety of the work because our customers span many industries, so you are always learning. The work is challenging and rewarding, applying similar techniques but for different applications, meaning that no two days are the same. In the last year I have designed components for ATMs (cash machines) and assessed subsea valves for the oil and gas industry, using finite element analysis (FEA). We use FEA to help the design process, to ensure structures will work as intended when built and comply with industry standards. Getting to know customers and understanding their requirements gives perspective to my role, and I am always aware of how the work that I am doing fits into the long process of getting a concept through to fruition.

From a young age I’ve been curious about how things work and this is the perfect role to find out! I’m so glad that my Arkwright Scholarship helped to point me in the right direction.


Arkwright Scholar 2005-2007

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Maths, Physics, Geography; D&T (Resistant Materials); General Studies

Durham University, MEng in Mechanical Engineering

Engineer, PDL Solutions (Europe) Ltd