Weapons Systems Engineering Graduate



Internship (1 Month+)

Meet Celina, a Weapons Systems Engineering Graduate working on the Typhoon programme, based on our Warton and Samlesbury sites. Celina relocated from her hometown in Hertfordshire to Manchester for the role.

What is your role at BAE Systems and can you explain what this involves?

I am a Weapons Systems Engineer, and I look at configuration and change management for our Typhoon programme. A Request for Authorisation, RFAs, which are essentially ‘changes’ for Typhoons, come into my Team. We look after the RFAs during their lifecycle through the ILS (Integrated Logistics Support) world. This involves communicating with specialist disciplines who may be effected by the incoming change.

Did you relocate for the role, and if so what made you decide to do so?

My family home is in Hertfordshire, north of London. I grew up around there, and then went to University in Durham for four years. Once I finished I moved back home for the summer before I came into this role and moved to Manchester.

I did a summer internship with BAE Systems in 2021, just before my final year, and for that I worked from home for the full 12 weeks. I knew through the internship that the company was right for me – the culture and the people were great, the work was also really interesting. So when they gave me an offer of the graduate programme I knew I wanted to job, but I know I’m also the kind of person who needs to be in the office so me for it made sense, I knew I needed to move up here.

What was it about the BAE Systems graduate programme and your specific role that attracted you and ultimately persuaded you it was worth the move?

The way the Durham University Engineering degree works meant I did General Engineering for the first two years, I then specialised in Mechanical Engineering in third year and for my Masters I specialised in Aeronautical Engineering. I always knew that planes were my thing. Fast planes, fast cars – that kind of stuff was what I wanted to do, and of course as soon as you start thinking about fast jets BAE Systems is the name that comes up. I fished around a bit on RateMyPlacement where I found an advertisement for the internship and thought it sounded interesting. But what was also quite great about it and is even more noticeable now I’m actually in the company is how much you can do. There’s so many options and it felt like there was this whole scope of opportunity there. Think of a job and we probably have it!

After the internship, as I said when I was offered the graduate role I knew the job was right for me, so it was a no brainer to relocate for it.

Thankfully I had friends who lived in Preston from the internship, and had also met people on the graduate programme who lived in Manchester and commuted into the Warton and Samlesbury sites from there. Therefore I knew I could reach out and ask for their advice. I was also really lucky as I had a childhood friend who was looking to make the same move so we ended up getting a place to live together and moved.

Were there any challenges or concerns you had when relocating? If so, how did you overcome these?

Moving to a new city can obviously be quite scary and I’m someone who doesn’t really like a huge amount of change, I like to know my surroundings. My university town was very small and always felt safe, so I did worry about moving to a larger city like Manchester there it could be overwhelming and disorientating. However, I moved up with a friend so we were in it together – and with the friends I’ve made through the internship and graduate programme we’ve started to get our bearings together.

I was also worried about the commute as it’s around 40 minutes to Samlesbury and an hour to Warton from Manchester. However, I car share with some graduates I met on the Internship to Warton and now I also share cars to Samlesbury with graduates from my cohort. Having a car share and realising I can choose when I want to go in has saved me here.  

I would also say I was anxious about finding a flat, especially not knowing the city. However, we called around a lot, we started looking months in advance and a lot kept going off the market. We then managed to organise a few tours, and signed on the day. I absolutely love where I live, so I’d say just trust the process!

We had a group chat beforehand of people who were going to be joining the graduate programme and I know one graduate in particular who just messaged someone in the chat and they ended up getting a flat in Preston together. It’s great that you can connect to that network before you start as a lot of you will be in the same boat together.

What’s the culture like on your site?

I work from home some days a week, but otherwise I go into both the Warton and Samlesbury sites. Warton is really cool as you get to see the planes taking off. This site is where my immediate and wider team is actually based, and it’s a really nice culture. We have cake and biscuit days, we did cheese and cracker day for International Women’s Day. We also celebrate birthdays and retirements. I like that I can walk up to someone’s desk here to ask a question and they always have the time of day for me. Everyone is so willing to help, even more so when you can meet face to face.

Samlesbury is where a lot of the other graduates are based so it’s also nice going onto that site, seeing others in my programme and connecting to others I wouldn’t necessarily on a day to day basis. I can strike up conversations with people I wouldn’t usually chat to which is nice.

Do you feel like you’ve managed to make a new support network for yourself in your new home?

Yes definitely. The good thing about the two week immersion is that you feel a bit like a year group, like being back at university again. You have this opportunity for 2 weeks to do all these different activities and really get to know everyone. There was around 80 people on mine, so you’ll find your people in there somewhere.

I met a few people through here, and I also work with some. When I’m on site I’ll see people I recognise from the immersion and it’s nice to have a catch up over lunch or a coffee. I’m lucky I’ve found a group about 10 of us that gotten quite close and all live in Manchester - we’re even going on holiday in a few weeks together. There’s definitely a feeling of we’re all starting our first job and having the grad programme in place you have the time to still feel young, and it gives you the space to meet people in same or similar situation to you.

What is it you like about living in Manchester?

I love the food in Manchester! All the different restaurants, bars and pubs – and it also has some great places for nights out. I also love that we’re so near the Peaks and Lakes, it feels like you can get away for a mini holiday in one day.

The graduate programme is really socially active here as well – which is great if, like me, you’re new to the area. There are nights out, activities, and walks organised. A lot those on my graduate scheme are now good friends.

What would you say to someone who is considering relocating for a graduate programme but isn’t quite sure?

Before you commit to somewhere, I’d say just go and see the place without the pressure of ‘where would I live’, ‘how would it work’ – just go and enjoy it. We spent 2 days in Manchester and by the end of it we knew we wanted to live there. I think just going and experiencing the new place helps.

It’s really exciting to discover a new place. But also having that office exposure is so important – I manage to get to work on some really exciting work projects just from an office conversation. And it’s always nice to put names to faces.

We’re so lucky that at BAE Systems there are so many graduates, so don’t worry you won’t find new friends or a group to hang out with. We get to connect with other graduates before we join, so it’s really easy to find someone else who may be moving like you, or has some great advice they can share.

Share this article