Alumni story – Mike Groom

Mike studied for his A Levels at the UTC before graduating in 2017 and going on to study engineering at Durham University. He’s now a graduate robotics engineer at the global professional services company, Jacobs.


During his time with us at the UTC, Mike studied for A Levels in maths, further maths and physics, as well as an EPQ, which led him to study general engineering at Durham University. The course allows students to study all aspects of engineering, before they decide what they want to specialise in at the end of the degree. ‘For me, university was a good choice,’ says Mike. ‘I didn’t know robotics was what I wanted to do, and I realised that at uni through doing a general engineering course.’


Following his graduation, Mike landed a job as a graduate robotics engineer at Jacobs, as part of its global, industry-leading graduate programme. ‘Throughout the graduate scheme, there’s lots of learning and development opportunities, learning more about the company and what they do.’


There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in different projects and roles at Jacobs. ‘A lot of the projects we get involved in are highly technical, solving highly challenging problems. At the Birchwood offices, we get involved in lots of areas from aerospace and automotive research to nuclear decommissioning… there are a lot of different opportunities and a huge variety of jobs available.’


Currently, Mike’s work focuses on nuclear energy, developing robotic solutions to deal with radiation tasks and high risk work. ‘My main interest with robotics is how robots perceive and understand their environment. Robotics can reduce the risks for people involved in this work. It’s high impact, keeping people away from danger and can solve really challenging problems,’ says Mike. ‘I was responsible for developing a software system to track mobile robots. It’s very important to have  good understanding of where they are.’


With offices in over 40 countries, Mike will have no shortage of options if he decides to work in other locations around the world, or on other projects. ‘I did a Masters Research and Development Project and was published and got to go to an international academic conference in Canada… We’re working with Mitsubishi, decommissioning nuclear reactors in Fukushima. We’re NASA’s largest contractor, doing a lot of work in the space centres in Florida, and we also do work for private aeronautical industries. We get to do some really cool stuff!’


Mike says that his time at UTC taught him key lessons that have helped him in his current career. ‘While I was at UTC, there were a lot of different opportunities available. Make the most of them. My time at UTC taught me that, and I’ve taken that into a lot of different things since, and it’s made a difference. Even if they’re small, small things add up, and by the time it comes to applying for a job, it’s not a small thing anymore and you look like a really good potential employee. Push yourself into scenarios you don’t like, because it’s the only way you learn how to deal with them. Keep doing it until it’s easy.’


One such opportunity UTC students will be able to make the most of is a future project Jacobs will be running with us, so keep an eye out for that…

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