Danny Veale

Current employer: Babcock International Group (Marine and Technology Division)

Current job title: Senior Nuclear Assurance Engineer

Current location: Plymouth

“When I first went to university my outlook was “am I going to get through this?” But here I am now, in a world leading company, as a mechanical engineer, with a great degree from a fantastic university and plenty of good memories and close friends.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

During my exams, I decided to apply to a few companies across a variety of industries in which I had an interest (mainly aerospace and defence). A few weeks after the exam period, I was accepted onto the Babcock Graduate scheme as a mechanical engineer. When I first started, I was given plenty of training and learning opportunities to develop and challenge myself. The emersion into the defence technology and the proximity to warships and submarines was exactly what I was looking for. I worked on projects relating to quality systems, innovative concept designs, business management and NDT (non-destructive testing). I am now involved in providing nuclear assurance to the board of directors. This means carrying out planned and unplanned inspections against the Office for Nuclear Regulations (ONR) licence condition requirements.

Did you decide to change your career path during your studies, and if so, why?

I was initially planning on going into the aerospace industry, due to my experience during my industrial placement within an aerospace composite manufacturer. However, my interests in the defence industry and its successful graduate scheme lead me to Babcock.

What was the most difficult thing you faced finding a job?

The most difficult element I found trying to find a job was sticking at it. Jobs within engineering seem to come and go very quickly. University of Plymouth helped to develop my CV, making sure that it was at its best – which, in my opinion, led to me getting the dream job that I wanted.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career (or that you’re most looking forward to)?

Being based at the largest naval base in Western Europe is pretty exciting, but being in such proximity to warships and submarines is always going to be exciting for me, and more so when given the opportunity to work on them. I have been lucky enough to have already worked on projects on board submarines which you just don’t get the opportunity to do anywhere else.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Being an engineer can be challenging and testing at times. It pays to develop your own personal understanding of the work you want to go into. A key skill I have to use every day is communication, and there is a lot to learn when it comes to communicating to colleagues, managers, team members. Thanks to my experience of being part of clubs and activities at university, I have built up a level of confidence when communicating and presenting which I believe has helped me to get my job.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth was always my plan because of the reputation which, especially for engineering, is high. I found the resources at Plymouth to be excellent, such as the library and computing facilities, and the staff to be most helpful. The integrated projects give your team building and project management skills a meaning in everyday life.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory of Plymouth was the final year project poster day. My project was to design and manufacture a topical negative pressure dressing for low income countries. I spent a long time working on it, and when it came to presenting my poster and my working prototype, I was excited and pleased that it went really well. This fantastic feeling continued to my graduation where I was surprised with the GMD Eurotool Ltd design innovation award for that project.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with University of Plymouth, and why?

I would recommend taking a course at University of Plymouth. The University has all the facilities you would want, the staff are professional and always willing to help, and the location of the University is second to none (and that’s not just because it’s my home city).

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

When I first went to university my outlook was “am I going to get through this?” But here I am now, in a world leading company, as a mechanical engineer, with a great degree from a fantastic university and plenty of good memories and close friends. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying mechanical engineering and our range of courses within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni are currently doing, please visit the engineering and robotics interest area.

Boat engine. Powerboat racing on Plymouth Hoe