Skip to main content

Scottish shipbuilding sojourn

Home  /  About AMC  /  News & Events  /  News items  /  Scottish shipbuilding sojourn

Tobias Pierce in Scotland

Gaining industry experience before you graduate is one sure-fire way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Tobias Pearce understood this well: under AMC's Co-operative Engineering Program, he had already completed two paid internships in Australia as part of his ocean engineering degree.

But for his third placement, he set his sights some 17,000 kilometres from home.  

“For my final internship, I knew I wanted to go overseas for a different kind of experience and for the opportunity to travel.

“I learnt that BAE Systems in Glasgow were currently building a number of ships for the UK’s Ministry of Defence. They also offer a very structured and supportive internship program and the opportunity to live in Glasgow – the third largest city in the UK – and explore Scotland and Europe was appealing.”

BAE Systems provide some of the world's most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions. Tobias spent his time on the engineering team for their River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel.

In just three months, he contributed to a surprising number of stages of the craft’s development.

“I was exposed to a number of different ship construction phases because one vessel was in the water being fitted out, one vessel was being prepared to be rolled out, and another was in very early phase of construction.

“Thanks to this, I learnt a great deal about the construction process of a large ship – knowledge that will help me if I work in maritime construction in the future.

“Thanks to this, I learnt a great deal about the construction process of a large ship – knowledge that will help me if I work in maritime construction in the future.

“It has also been great opportunity to make contacts within BAE Systems, including interns, graduates and other employees, and I’m sure I’ve developed skills that will interest future employers.”

Although out of a classroom environment, Tobias was happy to be able to draw connections between his work and his studies at AMC.  

“A task I have particularly enjoyed is learning about Naval Authority rules (the Ministry of Defence’s internal regulatory body) and comparing them to Lloyds register rules, which I recently studied in a 3rd year class assignment.”

Don’t tell his classmates, but he also expects his placement will also prove advantageous when it comes to writing his final year thesis.

“I’m writing my thesis on the structural life of Navy vessels. BAE Systems builds vessels for the UK Royal Navy so there were a number of experts on this topic on site. Towards the end of my internship, I was able to meet them and get their advice and input, which was brilliant.”

Most students would agree there’s more to life than work, but living and socialising in a new city on the other side of the world could be daunting to some. Luckily, Tobias seems to have only good things to say about his free time in this northerly city.

“I found Glasgow to be a great city, and I don’t think three months is long enough to visit all the pubs here!

“I lived next to an indoor ski slope centre, so I went skiing or snowboarding most evenings after work. I’ve also been able to travel around Scotland; Edinburgh is under an hour away or I travelled north to the Highlands, where there are tons of hills to climb.”

Now back in Tasmania for the final year of his degree, he reflects on an experience that is already influencing his future direction.    

“I would recommend an overseas internship to anyone as they not only give you industry experience while at university, but also the opportunity to travel.

“I would recommend an overseas internship to anyone, as they not only give you industry experience while at university but also the opportunity to travel.

“Whilst in Glasgow I met people on BAE Systems’ two-year graduate program, and they have inspired me to apply myself. It seems like a fantastic opportunity to try out working in different areas of the business at the same time as developing your skills.”

Published on: 17 Mar 2017