Joseph graduated from Queen's with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (MEng) in 2007.
He is a past pupil of St Patrick’s College, Maghera.
I did a MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree at Queen's University Belfast. It also included a sandwich year. The reason I chose a Masters was because I felt this would increase my chances of getting a job at the end of my degree. When looking for work, it did make a big difference.
I chose Electrical Engineering because I was really interested in Technology and Design, Physics and Mathematics when I was at school. I asked the teachers at my secondary school what degrees I should be looking at and they told me engineering degrees. I then pulled out the QUB prospectus and read all the degrees in engineering available.
I chose QUB over UUJ because I believed they had a much better reputation. After a bit of thinking and chatting to my teachers I decided to go for Electrical and Electronic Engineering because it sounded the most interesting. A friend of mine also chose it and another friend chose Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. At the time I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to do it but when you are only 16/17 years old I don't think it is possible to be.
I think the course at Queen's is very good. The first two years are mostly theory based and contain a lot of lectures early in the morning. You really need to have a handle on mathematics or be willing to work at it. All the modules contain quite difficult mathematics.
Engineering degrees at Queens have relatively long hours. For some people, this is not fun but the up side to this is you get to know your other class mates really quickly and make friends.
After second year, you have the option of taking a sandwich year. I took this option and I would recommend it. It gives you a lot of confidence having carried out some actual engineering. The 3rd year is project based. You find yourself in the laboratory working on your projects a lot. Most people find these projects fun and rewarding. There are a total of 4 projects to complete. If you are doing a BEng you also have a Final Year Project to complete.
The 4th year is the master's year and involves a lot of work. You have a final year project and an industrial project to complete. The industrial project is to think of an idea and develop a business plan for it. I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for our business. This was tough but everyone who completes it says they find it really beneficial.
The final year project takes up a lot of time also and requires a lot of work. Then you have your final exams. It is difficult to prepare for these as you have your final year project to complete but you have to find time from somewhere.
Studying at Queen's was really enjoyable for me. But like most things, it really depends what you make of it. Some people come and don't try new things and may not have as good a time as they could have had. It really depends upon the individual. Queens will offer you lots of opportunities; it is up to you to take them.
The Power Academy Scholarship I had was with Siemens. This involved a £2000/year living bursary, £200 book allowance, payment of tuition fees and an 8-week paid summer placement. I had the scholarship for my final 2 years at QUB. Therefore, I had only one summer placement which was in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2006.
The benefits of the scholarship are that you get a chance to work within the power industry. This gives you an opportunity to see what it is like and where you may see yourself going when you graduate. It also gives the opportunity to see if it is really for you or not.
The experience you get from the placement also helps motivate yourself when actually studying at university. You find yourself more knowledgeable in certain lectures than your peers. Also, the bursary you receive means you don't need to worry about money as much as £2000 goes a long way. It is also reassuring to know you have a job waiting for you when you graduate and it gives you confidence when an established employer believes in you.
The application process involved completing an online application form. This involved stating your 3 preferences for employers. One of mine was Siemens. After this, there was an assessment centre where you were placed in a group of approximately 6 potential scholars. You are given a task and a time limit to complete it. You are monitored on your interaction with the other members of the group by the assessors in the room. This information is then passed on to your chosen employers and they decide if they would like to interview you. I then went for a 30 minute or so interview with 2 employees from Siemens. They must have liked me and they then offered me the scholarship a few weeks later. I believe now the process has changed slightly.
At the moment, I have just started a graduate scheme with National Grid. They are also a Power Academy employer. I chose to work for National Grid instead of Siemens because I felt their graduate training scheme was better. I actually took a year out after graduating to travel. Before traveling I had secured this job with National Grid. My sister also has a Power Academy Scholarship with National Grid and she enjoyed her summer placements with them.
Yes. At the end of your degree, you will find it a lot easier than others to find work. You may well find yourself with a number of job offers to chose from. Electrical and electronic engineers are fast becoming a real commodity and are in big demand.
With an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree you find yourself with so many opportunities to work in different and exciting industries. The Power industry is just one of them. A number of my friends went into consultancy, aerospace, telecoms, oil exploration, defense and utilities. The degree at Queen's is very broad and gives you a good insight into many industries leaving you with options upon graduation.
There is also the possibility not to work in engineering if you chose so. There are many employers looking for the skills and attributes of electrical and electronic engineers. A number of my classmates have gone into accountancy and finance.
There is also a big opportunity to work in many different countries around the world. Many engineering employers are based in several countries and you may find yourself with the chance to travel. At the time of writing I have classmates working in China, Malaysia, Germany and Qatar.
First of all, I think I should mention the International Association of Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) which Queen's supports. This is an association run by the British Council and gives electrical and electronic engineering students the opportunity to gain work experience abroad. I carried out work experience in Ukraine, Thailand and FYR Macedonia which was subsidized by Queens. IAESTE was a big part of my time at Queens and gave me 3 fantastic experiences. These work experiences really helped in gaining work.
Secondly, when choosing your 3 employers on the initial online application form for a Power Academy Scholarship, research them. Find out the attributes of employee that they are looking for and show them how you have demonstrated these attributes in your life. This is crucial for the person reading your application.
You can apply for a Power Academy scholarship if you: