Interview: Student Engineer – Ethan Chalk

It was the first term of Year 12 when I realised that I wanted to pursue engineering. There was something about how it elegantly combined maths and physics to make a difference in the world, encouraging creativity within the constraints of reality. The pursuit of an ideal solution for a given situation is what motivates me, and I think it will continue to do so for a long time yet.

Despite this, after completing my A-Levels, I decided that I wanted to know more about engineering before beginning a four-year course. I had read the books, watched the videos, but not yet experienced the real thing. I chose to take a year away from studying and aimed to work in as many different engineering firms as I could, learning as much as possible and widening my understanding of the field.

This brings me to LSY, my second placement at an engineering firm. Having worked with mechanical specialists previously, I was excited to find out more about the structural sector through LSY. A mix of site visits, reports, technical drawings and calculations over the three weeks did not disappoint, with each developing my understanding of the field in their own way. I was happy to find that once I had been taught the steps, and sufficiently practiced the technique, I could work independently to a high standard and genuinely contribute to the company – a big difference from many internships.

Although I am only four months in, I would recommend this path to others who are motivated. Trying to find placements is in no way the easy route. As it requires many speculative emails with a discouraging success rate, I would encourage finding temporary work in between. I’m hopeful the rest of my year will be as successful, and I can use the contacts I’ve made to land a job out of university.

Fortunately, it only takes one opportunity to get you started.

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