Meet Our Graduates | Andrew
Posted on September 20th, 2021
In November 2019, Walker Filtration Ltd welcomed Andrew Leather as a Graduate Engineer, having graduated from University of Sunderland with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
We caught up with Andrew to find out about his first year in the Graduate Scheme.
Looking back on your first year in the Graduate Scheme, what skills do you think you have gained?
Aside from gaining invaluable practical engineering experience through projects and support roles, Walker Filtration has helped show how adaptable I can be. I have had the opportunity to help various functions within the technical department; from sustaining to new product development, to medical support when the pandemic hit.
Also, through being part of many different projects ran by various departments, I feel I have also developed project management and organisational skills as I have been able to see what works well to help a project meet a deadline.
What challenges have you found in your role?
When I first started, I found getting to grips with the systems that helped inter-departmental communication very difficult. It took time to learn what information was required from each department and the process of passing it on. There were a lot of acronyms and names for processes that I had never heard of. After developing an understanding of these, and speaking to other engineers who had worked elsewhere, I realised this is something that almost all companies will have in some form or another.
Initially, I also found having to work on multiple different projects or tasks at once daunting, however, I quickly realised that organisation was key and listing down what needs to be done and when tasks need to be completed by helped me streamline and prioritise my workload, so I always know when deadlines are.
What have you been working on recently?
Recently, I have been working on a few projects, including 2 for one of our vacuum customers. These projects have been challenging as they have strict project milestones and I was not as familiar with the vacuum side of the business, but I have enjoyed learning about it and the vacuum team have been great to work with.
Can you tell us about your experience rotating through the departments?
Due to the pandemic, I was asked to support the medical side of the business, which I initially found quite challenging as I was still beginning to understand the compressed air and vacuum elements of the business. However, it gave me the opportunity to work in an important and dynamic role. I was able to learn more about the medical product range, which I may not have had the chance to otherwise.
What advice would you give to someone joining the Graduate Scheme?
Ask as many questions as possible.
In the first few months it is best to learn as much as you can about how the business operates and what we make, how we make it, and why we make it. I found learning about the product range and systems within the business quickly essential as it helped me progress more independently when I was assigned tasks and projects.
Finally, what is your favourite thing about working at Walker Filtration?
The people. When I first joined, I was asked to do a similar article to this, and my answer hasn’t changed since. Getting along well with colleagues always makes the day go a bit quicker and, although the last 18 months has been challenging, the team at Walker Filtration have always helped and supported each other and I think this is one of the many reasons it makes Walker Filtration a good place to work.