Want to know what it’s like working for one of the largest employers of science and technology PhDs in the UK? On Sunday night, BBC2 showed an hour long programme about the engineers working for QinetiQ, and it will be available on the BBC iPlayer until this Sunday (18th July), at:
QinetiQ started life as part of the UK Government defence research establishment, but they were spun off into a private company some years ago.
They employ around 7,000 people in the UK, and, as their CEO commented in the programme, about 10% of their UK workforce have PhDs.
The BBC programme focused on engineers working for QinetiQ, as that was the emphasis of the TV series as a whole, but QinetiQ also employ other science disciplines – for example, they work in the “Human protection & performance enhancement” market which includes facilities such as a sleep laboratory, metabolic laboratory and a whole load more, which might be of interest to life and chemical scientists, as well as the more obvious engineers, physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians.
The programme isn’t an in-depth exposé of the company, so you’ll get a pretty rosy picture of life working for QinetiQ. However, it doesn’t hide the fact that the employees shown refitting Chinook helicopters for UK armed forces are working very long hours, in some cases working away from home (living in caravans!) – but with a strong sense of purpose to their work.
Previous programmes in the series have covered “How to Build … a Jumbo Jet Engine” (jet engines with Rolls Royce) and “How to Build … a Nuclear Submarine” (built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy), and both are available until this Sunday night on iPlayer.
If you’re thinking about applying to any of these companies, I’d suggest watching the relevant programme to get a feel for what it’s like working for them – and to give you some great material to answer the question “why do you want to work for us?”