As the roar of a Typhoon engine rips through the Lancashire air, a group of youngsters scurry to the flight line to catch a glimpse.
The young scholars are getting a first-hand view of what a career in systems engineering can achieve.
A taste of engineering
They are among 40 out of more than 100 college students who applied from across the country to take part in the visit to our Warton site to get a taste of what the job is all about.
“I am so glad we didn’t miss that, that’s what it’s all about” says Keir Bowater, a scholar on the BAE Systems-backed Arkwright Scholarship who has travelled seven hours from his home in Kent to be here. I had quite a general idea of what systems engineering was all about, but this has definitely added colour to my understanding of what it is all about.
“It has been very interesting to see all the high-tech stuff they do here and speaking to all the undergraduates about their roles here and it is encouraging because they all love it here.
“The whole week has been a great experience and has only made me more determined to get a career in engineering.”
A closer look at the flight line
The trip to the flight line sees the group of 20 students – one of two parties who will take part in a week-long visit to Warton – get a closer look at the ‘Flying Test Bed’, the Jetstream aircraft which is playing a leading role in proving the case for unmanned flight as part of the ASTRAEA programme.
A moment of reflection
One of the undergraduates who joined the youngsters on their tour around the hangar where Typhoons are assembled is Simon Booth, who took part in the taster weeks back in 2009.
He recalls visiting the final assembly hall, manufacturing hangars, getting a go in the flight simulators and meeting a Harrier pilot.
The 21-year-old, who is now on our graduate programme, says: “It definitely sparked my imagination. I remember coming here thinking engineering was something I had an interest in and the taster week gave me a good idea of how it all came into practice.”
Summing up engineering
So, how does the Blackburn-born engineering hopeful sum up systems engineering?
“I always try and give an example by telling people to look at a complicated product like Typhoon and think about all the different systems on board it,” says Simon.
“Then think about an aircraft like Spitfire which had one person who knew the systems inside out; I liken systems engineering to a modern day version of that person.
“We are people who pull together all that engineering know-how into one place to make it all happen.”
Put to the test
At the end of their week at Warton, the groups of young scholars will complete a project set to them to put their engineering abilities to the test.
Under the watchful gaze of senior company figures and their parents, the youngsters will present what they learnt during the week, but there can be no better advert than seeing engineering in action in the form of Typhoon.
“I just hope we can get all of them to see some flying,” says week organiser and undergraduate, Jacob Ross, “that always inspires them.”