Five students from the United Arab Emirates have been given an opportunity spend 18 weeks at Warton on an internship programme.
From co-operative robotics and solar farms, to fish and chips and fell walking, intern Yousif Alkindi says the internship at MAI has fuelled his ambition to be at the forefront of the UAE’s developing aerospace industry.
With the UAE keen to establish an indigenous aerospace industry, Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, Mubadala has linked up with BAE Systems to offer undergraduate engineering students like Yousif Alkindi, academic and cultural placements which immerse them in real-life industry scenarios and give them workplace experience.
For Yousif, who’s researching the feasibility of a solar farm, the internship is a whole new world.
He said: “My studies mainly involve microelectronics and semi-conductors, so all this is quite new to me. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”
And he admits it’s given him a new perspective on his studies – and his future plans.
“My project involves talking to lots of staff right across the Warton site and considering things like materials, siting, safety and ecology,” he said. “It’s not only taught me how to apply my knowledge in a real life situation, it’s helped me think about how to plan a project.
“Everything I’ve studied suddenly makes sense – it’s not just theory any more.
“When I started my studies my focus was on semi-conductors, but being here at MAI has given me an insight into the aerospace industry and research.
“They’re both areas that are still in their infancy back home in UAE and it’d be great to be at the forefront of their development, helping to create a solid proposition for the country’s future.”
Although his future lies back home in UAE, for now the interns are happy to sample life in – and beyond – the British workplace.
“When they say ‘BAE Systems – Inspired Work’ I can really see what that means now,” says Yousif. “Everyone here is really proud to work for the company.
“You’re treated like an employee, not an intern. It’s a great environment to be in.”
It’s not all work though. The students have found time to take part in social events with colleagues, including a weekend in the Lakes and hiking fanatic Yousif has been getting to grips with fell walking.
“I’m notorious amongst my friends for organising over-ambitious, badly-prepared hiking trips,” he laughs. “So to go on a trip with the BAE Systems Fell Walking Club was great – one of the best walks I’ve ever been on, and I’m hoping to do more while I’m here.”
And, while he admits a fondness for fish and chips and cups of tea, he’s taken the opportunity to bring a taste of the UAE to MAI by hosting an Eid breakfast.
“We have quite a lot of grand, elaborate dishes during Eid, so we could only really show the MAI staff the basics with our limited cooking skills,” laughs Hamad. “Eid is all about being together with family and friends, a bit like Christmas, so it’s hard to be so far away from home for the celebrations. But to be able to share a taste of the festival with people who’ve made us so welcome has been fantastic.”