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Get Future-ready with The Defence STEM Undergraduate Sponsorship Scheme

Is it right for you?

Do you want to be an integral part of maintaining national security now and in the future, whilst developing your skills and career within the Nuclear industry? Would you like the opportunity to have an exciting and varied career working with the most cutting edge technology? Then this Defence STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Undergraduate Sponsorship (DSUS) Scheme could be the opportunity you are looking for! This is a genuinely exciting time to join the Ministry of Defence (MOD) if you want to be at the heart of real Defence issues. You will get to work on a high profile and distinctive portfolio which is rarely out of the news and have a unique insight into the captivating world of nuclear. You will require an eagerness to learn, an inquisitive mind with a logical approach to problem solving, self-motivation, and the ability to learn from practical and theoretical studies. The scheme requires dedication from you to complete the remainder of your STEM degree and commit to work in the DNE for a minimum of 3 years after you graduate. If this sounds like you, then we want to hear from you!

During your studies:

If you are accepted onto this sponsorship scheme, whilst you study for your degree, we will:

  • Pay your tuition fees (up to £9,250 each year for the remainder of your studies, to a maximum of 3 years).
  • Pay you a bursary of £5,000 each year for the remainder of your studies.
  • Organise paid work placements for you in a variety of locations across the UK – these placements are crafted to give you experience of the DNE that will be of value to your future career and to your development

Upon graduation:

On successful completion of your degree, we will appoint you to a permanent job within the DNE. Your contracted hours will be 37 hours per week. You will initially start as an Executive Officer (EO) (current minimum £27,080). At the 2-year point there may be an opportunity for you to re-grade (promote) to Higher Executive Officer (HEO) (current minimum £33,830). Roles are available in a variety of locations across the UK. We will continue to support you with professional development in order to maintain your skills and professional accreditations.

Who is eligible?

You must be studying for a degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) approved by the Engineering Council (engc.org.uk) OR be studying a degree from the list in the relevant advert. You can apply for this scheme at any stage of your studies from first to final year. You must be able to undertake paid work placements for up to 45 days during the summer. You must commit to work within the DNE on graduation and for a minimum of three years. Please note that this is an undergraduate scheme – so if you have already graduated, you will not be eligible.

Where are the opportunities?

The Defence Nuclear Enterprise (DNE) is made up of several government and industry organisations that sustain the UK’s nuclear deterrent. This includes the organisations, programmes, and people within government and industry that help deliver the UK’s nuclear capability. There are opportunities in Portsmouth, Bristol and Reading, each advertised under a separate reference number.

How to apply

Civil Service Jobs: civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk

Portsmouth: Navy Command Ref: 295665

Bristol: Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) Ref: 295582

Reading: Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Ref: 295643

Closing date for applications: 23:55 Monday 14th August For further information, contact DNO-DNE-Talent@mod.gov.uk

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Student Testimonials: Women in Business: Women in Tech

Northern Ireland’s leading tech companies & organisations came together for the 6th Women in tech Conference.

This empowering event, sponsored by MCS Group gathered role models who innovate, challenge, and embrace technology. From inspirational women who have achieved great success within the sector, to influential entrepreneurs who shared their journey throughout the world of tech from both local and global perspectives.

The day was be filled with feature speakers and panellists, providing attendees with industry-focused learning and face to face access to a high calibre of education and development experts on the conference theme of The Climate of Change.

Hear from Folasewa

I was privileged to meet and listen to some accomplished and inspiring women at the Women in Business Tech conference at the Titanic Belfast. The journey started when I heard about and enrolled in a networking and career development event organized by my prestigious university; Queen’s University, Belfast.

This was a three-day event, and my key learnings for those three days were; organizations need you as much as you need them, putting yourself out there, how to pitch yourself within a short time, and finally, keeping the right network and always staying in touch with them. The conference exceeded my expectations as I enjoyed every part of it, most especially the session anchored by Dr. Niamh Shaw my major takeaway from her speech was nothing just happens, you have to put energy into the things you like.

overall, my striking takeaway is to Deliberately create my Brand.  not to forget to mention that I attended this conference with some great minds, with who I would love to stay connected. finally, special gratitude to my university and the organizer Deirdre, whom I was privileged to share a table with. she has a very bold and eloquent charisma, worthy to emulate, and also Nikky for this highly impactful opportunity.

Hear from Chimwemwe

Why you took part in the Women in the Business programme?

It is always exciting to be in a room full of women with similar interests, encouraging each other to be better. I was hoping to understand and get an insight into how easy or difficult it is for women to enter the industry, especially in Northern Ireland. To network and learn from the guest speakers on their experiences as I am about to start applying for jobs to kick start my career.

What you enjoyed most?

Hearing all the different experiences and lessons from the ladies,  I made new connections and friends, and Niamh Shaw talking about her dream of becoming an astronaut.

What key piece of advice you will take with you?

Be the woman you want to become!

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Queen’s intern abroad designs award-winning fire fighters’ helmet

Imagine you’re a firefighter entering a burning building. The room is so thick with smoke that you can’t see. How do you know which way to turn? This was the challenge set for Queen’s Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate Sean Hackett before he helped design an award-winning fire fighters’ helmet that tells the wearer which way to turn with a simple buzz to the left or right of the head.  

As an IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience intern), Sean is enjoying a year placement as an intern at the Visual Intelligence Studio in Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, where he is part of a research team exploring a safer communication tool for firefighters. 

Under Senior Systems Scientist Dr. Yang Cai, the ‘Haptic Helmet’ prototype conceived by Sean’s team won the award for “most commercially viable” at the NIST Haptic Interface for Public Safety Challenge. The contest assessed the use of virtual reality environments as a development tool for creating safety technologies. 

As part of the project, Sean and the team travelled to Denver, Colorado for live demos in a fire fighting training facility. This practical experience allowed them to understand how firefighters navigate unfamiliar paths through burned buildings filled with smoke and noise.

Sean said: “The experience of interacting with real-life firefighters and working independently on solutions has been very interesting for me.”

The prototype helmet

Dr Yang said: “We encourage engineers to find simple solutions that work in the real world. “Although I give them instructions to guide and get them started, I also encourage them to use their own knowledge and experiment because in the real world there is no textbook that tells you what to do and engineers have to work on a lot of problem-solving”.

Along with Dr Yang, Sean and the team worked to develop technology that successfully improves firefighter’s safety and efficiency of in the most challenging and hazardous environments.

Sean with fellow intern Florian Alber

During his internship, Sean has also been helping edit a research paper for presentation on “Indo-Navigation and Fire Fighters Activity Recognition”. 

Dr Yang commented: “Students and participants from western Europe have a brilliant work ethic. Together, they produce research papers and work on innovative solutions, adding value to the lab. Some European interns have great writing style in addition to other talents and that is monumental when it comes to writing and editing research papers for conferences, which is great additional help.”

Sean works on drone projects for public safety alongside a fellow researcher

According to Sean, it wasn’t hard settling into the new environment thanks to the immense support offered at the lab. “Of course, it’s challenging to be away from friends, family, and home. It takes a little while for the initial adjustment of the processes and procedures but once that is done, it’s pretty smooth sailing.”

Sean and Florian check out the Grand Canyon

The year stateside has also given Sean the opportunity to experience American culture and interact with people from diverse backgrounds, participate in social activities and enjoy American adventure and sports.

To find out more about IAESTE internships, visit https://iaeste.org/open_internships

More about Sean’s research

To discover more work and study abroad programmes, visit our Global Opportunities page

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Global Opportunities international students internship placement Research STEM student success Student success stories Switzerland Technology Work abroad

“My life changing experience on an international internship”

Queen’s Chemistry student Anwin Robin has described a paid internship with the British Council’s IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) programme as “the best year of my life.”

Like many Queen’s students, Anwin took the opportunity to gain international experience and boost his employability skills on a paid placement abroad. 

Anwin, from Dromore in County Down, moved to Switzerland in June 2019 to work with Empa – Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology.

Anwin said: “During my internship I drew on my background as a chemistry student to carry out research into making stronger materials. Knowing that they may be used in the future in structures ranging from airplanes to wind turbines made my work feel tangible and relevant.”

Anwin at work in Switzerland

The best year of my life

During his time in Switzerland, Anwin also had the opportunity to meet up other interns working across the country through weekend excursions organised by IAESTE, the largest global mobility programme for STEM students in the world. 

Anwin added: “My time in Switzerland has been the best year of my life so far. My IAESTE placement showed me how international many companies are today and confirmed that I want to grow my work experience outside of the UK. I will forever be grateful to IAESTE for providing me with this opportunity.”

Adapting for Covid-19

Anwin enjoyed the experience so much that when Switzerland went into lockdown because of Covid-19, he chose to stay in the country and continue his internship from home. He also used this as an opportunity to develop his coding skills.

Anwin has remained in Switzerland since finishing his IAESTE placement in May. He is currently applying to further internships in the country and hopes to eventually study for a Masters in computer science.

Whilst Covid-19 has restricted much travel this summer, many IAESTE placements have shifted online in response.

Among the 15 students from Northern Ireland who are currently undertaking remote internships with organisations in the USA, India, Bangladesh and Poland, are several Queen’s students who are joining online seminars and discussions. Their subject areas include biomedical science, business and marketing, computer science, aerospace engineering and chemical engineering.

Life changing impact

Jonathan Stewart, Director of the British Council Northern Ireland, said: “It’s wonderful to hear about the lifechanging impact of Anwin’s IAESTE placement, and we wish him all the best as he starts out in his career. Despite Covid-19, the IAESTE programme has quickly adapted and continues to offer quality opportunities for our university students to gain international experience. The remote internships help to provide Northern Ireland students with new technical skills while also experiencing different cultures and ways of working.”

In Northern Ireland IAESTE is funded by the Department for the Economy and delivered by the British Council.

Queen’s STEM students interested in applying for the IAESTE programme can find more information here:

https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-abroad/outside-uk/iaeste

For more information on work or study abroad programmes, visit our Global Opportunities site