In the ever-evolving landscape of engineering and technology, it is crucial for companies to actively engage in shaping the future of the industry. ALTEN UK, as a prominent player in the engineering sector, recognises the importance of supporting and inspiring young minds interested in pursuing careers in the field. We had the opportunity to speak with Jonas de Oliveira, an ALTEN UK Specialist*, who shares insights into the company’s commitment to the future of engineering and the initiatives they are taking to encourage and guide aspiring students.
*ALTEN specialists are recognised within the company as highly skilled employees in specific technical fields. As such, they act as the main reference, in the organisation, for their area of expertise.
Interviewer: Jonas, thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about the significance of companies like ALTEN getting involved in shaping the future of engineering?
Jonas: Absolutely. In the dynamic world of engineering and technology, staying at the forefront requires continuous innovation. By actively participating in shaping the future, companies not only contribute to the progress of the industry but also ensure their own sustainability. It’s about fostering an ecosystem where creativity and expertise can flourish.
Interviewer: ALTEN seems to be actively involved in supporting young students interested in engineering. Can you share some specific initiatives or programs the company has undertaken?
Jonas: We have various initiatives aimed at finding and nurturing our future talents, but mainly partnerships with educational institutions and a graduate programme.
Interviewer: How do these initiatives benefit both the students and ALTEN?
Jonas: It’s a win-win situation. For students, it offers a chance to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings, gain valuable industry insights, and build a network. For ALTEN, it’s an investment in future talent. We get fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and potentially identify individuals who could become valuable contributors to our team in the long run.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to get involved?
Jonas: I felt that there is a need that we (specialists) provide inputs for the wider organisation rather than staying siloed in our teams working directly with the customer. I made some suggestions, one of them being that ALTEN specialists could accompany the recruitment team to specific career fairs where their field of expertise would be relevant. The aim here for the specialist would be to fill the gap whenever there were more technical questions during the career fair, that the recruitment team would not be able to clarify on the spot. Additionally, as the specialist is usually exposed to many areas, teams and customers within ALTEN, they can also identify candidates that would show great potential for their teams and customers.
Interviewer: You attended the Cranfield University career fair recently, what did you think of your experience there?
Jonas: My initial reaction was the amazing interest from the candidates! The ALTEN booth was buzzing with candidates all day long, and we had to set up shifts to keep up with the demand, both from myself and the recruitment team. Right from the start of the career fair, there was a great synergy between me and the team, and we seamlessly directed candidates to each other based on the relevance of the questions.
Interviewer: What questions were you asked the most?
Jonas: In my conversations, people were particularly intrigued by my career path and the responsibilities I’ve had in my past and present roles at ALTEN. They were keen to know the timeframes it took for me to progress between roles. Overall, they were impressed by how quickly one can advance their career at ALTEN. I was also frequently asked about ALTEN’s current standing and clients in renewable energies, career path options within ALTEN, the day-to-day work of a consultant, and the services ALTEN offers and why customers require their expertise. I was surprised that many attendees seemed unaware of the range of services that a major consultancy company like ALTEN offers. The discussions we had on this topic were quite enlightening.
I was also happy to see a very big interest in renewable energies and sustainable engineering! It proves that the current generation are aware of the need to shift more and more towards green energies and to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Many seemed to want to contribute to this goal through their professional lives.
Interviewer: How do you think your attendance as a specialist added value?
Jonas: I have always felt with events, such as career fairs, that we should be able to explain how a typical day to day workday would look like for an ALTEN consultant. After all, most of the attendees will be finishing university soon and are interested to know what their future routine would look like. As a specialist in ALTEN, you have a very complete and detailed understanding of all the consultant level roles within ALTEN (engineering consultant, cluster leader, technical leader and project leader) and therefore can provide invaluable insights into the career paths, being yourself an example of an ALTEN’s career path progression.
Interview: What makes a good specialist in your opinion?
Jonas: In my view being an ALTEN specialist means having to think outside the box, proposing new ideas, methods, tools that would benefit the wider organisation. The specialist should not want to just focus on their technical domain, but should strive to contribute to other fields, sectors, and teams where they may be less experienced. Regardless, their previous and current experience will always prove invaluable.
Interviewer: Lastly, what would you say to a young engineer considering joining ALTEN?
Jonas: I’d say that ALTEN, being a consultancy company with a presence in various sectors and with many different clients, offers excellent exposure. For a young engineer starting their career and unsure about their focus, this diversity is invaluable. Even within a specific domain like Gas Turbine Performance, they can engage in various related activities, expanding their knowledge. I also feel like ALTEN gives substantial responsibility to young engineers, and with the right mindset and drive, they can experience rapid career growth, gaining exposure to technical, project management, and team leadership aspects.
Note on our partnership with Cranfield University: ALTEN’s partnership with Cranfield University has been pivotal in sourcing exceptional talent for our team. The strong connection forged over the years, particularly through Cranfield’s Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc program, has proven invaluable. The program’s detailed and industry-tailored curriculum ensures that graduates seamlessly integrate into ALTEN, ready to contribute effectively from day one. We remain committed to this partnership, actively participating in career fairs to identify and nurture the next generation of engineering talent. Our collaboration with Cranfield is a cornerstone of our growth and commitment to engineering consultancy excellence.
‘I have worked directly with Gas Turbine performance for the last 6 years, and we have recruited many people from Cranfield’s Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc, and we will continue to do so. We have found over the years that candidates who complete this course are ready to start with real hands-on activities as soon as they join ALTEN.’
– Jonas de Oliveira, ALTEN specialist