In The Spotlight: Graduate Design Engineer

13th April 2022

Name: Matthew Black – Design Engineer

Education and Route into Engineering:

Initially I was following a science route through education in High School. It was here where I picked up a basic knowledge on the different energy sources being utilised in engineering. Whenever I was at the stage of progressing to university, these previous studies proved interesting enough for me to choose engineering as my main course of study. I then went on Ulster University where I attained a first-class BEng degree in Architectural Engineering in 2020, as part of which I undertook a work placement year within Alternative Heat.

Current Role and Responsibilities:

As a design engineer at Alternative Heat, my role is to assess client design specifications on a project and propose ways in which a system can be improved or optimised. My ideas are communicated through mechanical/electrical schematics and layout drawings, with an aim to make the transition from design to manufacturing as smooth as possible. I will also carry out calculations for lighting, ventilation, heating etc. to test the viability of certain design choices.

Thoughts on Current Role:

My role is not a static one and that’s why I enjoy it. Within Alternative Heat I’ve not just carried out design work but have also had the opportunity to get involved in the manufacturing, testing, commissioning, and quality assessment of projects. Seeing a design go from a piece of paper to being installed on-site is an ideal way to learn as you begin to understand the challenges throughout the entire process.

Career Development:

As I’m at the early stages of my career, I’m currently working towards becoming a more well-rounded engineer since the sector is so diverse. I’ve primarily worked on the mechanical & electrical side of various plantroom, MEP utility cupboard and pipework riser/lateral module designs – so I plan on becoming more experienced on the structural aspect of projects to become more versatile in my work.

Advice to others contemplating a career in the sector:

There are so many roles within engineering that there’ll typically be something for everyone. It’s a sector where new ideas are constantly being proposed and technological advancements regularly change how you approach projects, so things often feel fresh and you’re always learning. For these reasons I would consider it to be a worthwhile career to invest into, and one that can be very rewarding.