Randeep Singh is in his second year of Doncasters Group's graduate development programme. Originally from India, he is the first graduate to spend a placement working at one of the company's US sites
What first attracted you to aerospace and engineering?
After completing my BSc (Hons) in business administration and spending a year working in the construction industry, I decided to pursue my passion for supply chain engineering and logistics by taking an MSc in supply engineering and logistics at Warwick University.
The size and challenging nature of the aerospace sector provided a real opportunity to make an impact. The Airbus A380 and Boeing Dreamliner projects have seen a revolution in terms of supply chain management and I wanted to be part of it.
© Doncaster Group
Singh: enjoying the aerospace sector challenges at Doncasters Group
What does the position with Doncasters involve?
I joined Doncasters' graduate development programme in September 2008. This involves four six-month placements at various sites, working on real, commercial projects that develop our technical and managerial skills.
We also undertake work skills development in areas such as personal effectiveness, teamwork, project management, presentation skills, business and finance, as well as training in Lean/Six Sigma principles and other continuous improvement initiatives.
Tell me about some projects you've been involved with
My first placement was at Doncasters Precision Forgings in Sheffield, which specialises in manufacturing casings and compressor aerofoils.
My second placement was at Doncasters Chard. This was a particularly inspiring location as Chard is the birthplace of powered flight, where John Stringfellow first demonstrated that engine-powered flight was possible through his work on the Aerial Steam Carriage in 1848! The facility specialises in producing turbine aerofoils and structural castings and my main challenge here was assisting in the implementation of a paperless manufacturing system.
During my third placement, at Doncasters Blaenavon, I worked with senior management to bring a new facility on stream, ensuring it was operating to aerospace quality standards and implementing lean manufacturing practices.
You are the first graduate to take up a placement in the USA. What has that been like?
I'm working at Doncasters GCE in San Diego on the implementation of a new business system and associated lean manufacturing improvements. There are some notable differences between working in the UK and the USA - not least the challenge of different accents!
In the UK, there is a real pressure to manufacture parts at low cost and the market itself is smaller than that in the USA. As a result, the UK market seems more cohesive than in the USA.
The strength of the dollar also means US sites are better positioned to produce low-cost products. However, the pressure here is more focused on increasing output and improving product flow to meet customer demand.
Where do you go next?
When I complete my placement at Doncasters GCE in June, I'll be moving back to the UK to work at Doncasters Aerospace Components in Shrewsbury.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be in a senior supply chain engineering role at Doncasters. The company and the industry have exciting futures, with changes and challenges to come. I hope to play an active role.
Sell aerospace engineering to a teenager looking for a career
Aerospace engineering is a fantastic career option, particularly if you don't want a traditional desk job. My experience so far is of an exciting, progressive industry where you can make a real difference throughout your career.