South Wales: Mathew’s story

MR.jpgEngineering Degree Apprentice Mathew Roberts is undertaking his final year of study on the BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree at the University of South Wales. As a Degree Apprentice Mathew is also employed at Arup, a Global Advisory, Design, Planning & Engineering Consultancy.   

Mathew’s career in Electrical Engineering started when he successfully gained a place on the Network75 scheme with Arup in 2016 after studying a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering at Neath Port Talbot College. In 2019 Mathew transferred to the Engineering Degree Apprenticeship scheme.

“I’m really happy that I went down the Degree Apprenticeship route and I’m lucky to be employed at ARUP. During the past 5 years, I have gained experience in many different project sectors such as Aviation, Rail, Data Centres, Commercial and Educational”.

Mathew’s main responsibilities at ARUP include:

  • Electrical equipment sizing
  • Co-ordination of electrical services with mechanical, structures and civil services to ensure a clash free design
  • Generating electrical designs for lighting, fire, containment, security, data, and small power
  • Developing protection studies within calculation software
  • Communicating with other engineers for service routes and space planning
  • Corresponding with the client and end users to ensure their demands are met
  • Communicating with manufacturers of electrical equipment to find the most suitable electrical strategies
  • Site visits to check for any deviations from ARUPs design

Alongside his role at Arup, Mathew is completing his degree including working on his final year project.

“As part of my Degree Apprenticeship, I was required to complete a work-based dissertation project. I chose to create a template office building, I designed the electrical services for this office while taking into consideration future developments such as smart building technology and Internet of things (IoT)”.

The main aims of the project were:

  • To develop the main electrical equipment within the building, such as the transformer, generator and UPS back up. Research was conducted into areas that could be altered from normal design practices.
  • Renewable energy systems that are still viable for usage, with calculations for their possible returns on set locations of the building and placement considerations.
  • Incorporation of IoT and smart building technology, areas of focus are infrastructure required to set up a smart building and applications that could be used.
  • Simulations on the power network, calculating phase/earth fault currents, performing a protection study and justifying the system design from simulations conducted.

Mathew has enjoyed the balance between work and study and is grateful for the support offered to him by the Engineering Degree Apprenticeship team and his lecturers as USW.

“I don’t think the full-time student route would have suited me personally – I enjoy the mix of work and study. In the long term, the additional two years of study doesn’t matter, time flies by and the benefits of working and being paid while studying are brilliant. At the end of my degree I have no student debt, have been able to save for a house and able to fund my hobbies. I highly recommend Degree Apprenticeships to others considering university, the ‘Work Earn Learn’ feature sets you up perfectly for your desired career”.