Name: Matthew van Rooyen
Degree and university: Masters in Mechanical Engineering with honours, University of Nottingham
Job Title: Mechanical Engineering Graduate Trainee, Transport For London
What do you actually do?
The London Underground Engineering Directorate ensures rolling stock, signals and control, permanent way (the actual track) and telecommunications remain safe, fit for purpose and economically efficient during their lifespan, and I carry out technical investigations and design work to support London Underground’s engineering and operational goals.
Were you always interested in Transport as a career?
I’ve lived in London since I was three and I’ve always used public transport and I especially liked the tube and trains. As I grew older I realised mechanical engineering was for me and I considered the automotive and nuclear sectors but I knew it had to be trains and preferably based in London, so Transport For London was an excellent opportunity for me.
How did you find out about this particular job?
I was at a careers fair and there was a TfL representative there. I followed up by going to the website and applying online.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides?
What I like most is the fact what I do is actually tangible in everyday life. For example, yesterday I was working on the lift at Regent’s Park tube station knowing I would be using that lift on my way into work today. So, what I do on a day-by-day basis impacts on everybody. One downside is the underground is a 24 hour operation, so there can be a need to work outside usual office hours, including nights. However, when we work is flexible, so I’m able to keep nights to a minimum.
What skills do you need to succeed?
You have to be flexible in the way you manage your time. There are many layers of work here, some more time sensitive than others, so you can be working on a deadline for one project when something more important comes up that needs to be done immediately. You also need to be able to transfer the knowledge you have gained during your degree into the real world.