Meet Jack –  In2scienceUK STEM Journey

My name is Jack Meiklejohn and I am a mechanical engineer, currently working at UKAEA as an Engineering Analyst. I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and I graduated in 2020, right in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic!

Even from primary school I was fairly confident I wanted to work in a STEM field. Initially I wanted to become a Doctor, but after going to high school I discovered that my main interests were in Physics and Maths, so I picked my classes to take me more towards a Science/Engineering route.

In my 4th Year of high school (equivalent to Year 11 in England) I went on a work experience week to my Dad’s company, Howden UK. During my placement I got to work on a manufacturing shop floor and work with engineering drawings and 3D models. On top of this, one of my Physics teachers in school organised a trip to Thales to see their factory. I got to play about with military laser equipment and to get a look at 3D printing. This cemented my desire to work in engineering, and I started to plan to go to university to study mechanical engineering.

I should mention that this isn’t the only way to get into engineering: I have many friends who started off their engineering career by going through the apprenticeship route, and most of them are now earning more money than me!

Throughout university I did a couple of internships at Faslane Naval Base, where the UK submarine fleet is based, and at the AFRC, which does a lot of cutting-edge manufacturing research. I learned a lot and made a lot of friends at uni that helped me to shape my future career path.

Now I am on the nucleargraduates graduate scheme, where over the last year and a half I have worked in 4 different roles at 3 different companies: as an Engineering Analyst at UKAEA, a Design Engineer at U-Battery, and as a Manufacturing Engineer and Innovation Engineer at Rolls-Royce. During my the scheme I have attended many training programmes and events which has enabled me to discover more about the nuclear and wider engineering industry. This has helped me to pick where I would like to go on my next placements and what I would like to do in the rest of my career.

Organisations like In2scienceUK are incredibly valuable in that they offer life-changing opportunities to people who may otherwise not have had access to such opportunities. As I mentioned, my work experience week at my Dad’s work was really important in convincing me that I wanted to spend the rest of my life as an engineer. I consider myself very lucky that my Dad worked in an engineering company, giving me the opportunity to visit a shop floor and see things getting made. In2science provides these same opportunities to people who do not have family that work within STEM fields or attend schools who do not have the funding for expensive school trips to STEM companies in the area.

I’m very passionate about supporting the mission of In2scienceUK, and that’s why my fellow graduates and I set up Innova Learning Ltd. We make activity STEM boxes which are sent to schools to introduce young people to STEM and get them asking questions about the world around them and potential careers which are out there. We are funded through sponsorships from numerous STEM companies and all of our profits are donated directly to In2science.