Manufacturing and processing
graduate mortar board

Mel Courtney

Degree subject MEng Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Job title Site Manager
Employer Kingspan Environmental Containers

I always enjoyed technology and science at school so engineering seemed a natural choice for me. My industrial sandwich year gave me experience of practical problems and ways of finding solutions.

I joined my employer's graduate programme as a Process Engineer at the headquarters of the Environmental Division, providing input for the company's engineering activities while considering production efficiency and product quality. A year later, I was offered the role of Site Manager.I realised that my company was the right one for me during the selection process. It was very informative and I was able to meet senior directors – I felt they were the type of people I wanted to work with.

As Site Manager, I am responsible for employing people to work on site in the factory. My team focus on all areas of operations to improve competitiveness and efficiency. I report monthly to divisional management and have regular meetings with my team to communicate our key performance indicators and targets. I also propose new projects and have to give financial justification for my plans. To some extent, I was thrown into the deep end but the support and experience of the people around me was a great help as a young management trainee. I would like to continue to gain experience and hope that my role in the company progresses over the next few years.

Job-hunting tips

Don't sit in your comfort zone when thinking about interviews and assessment centres. When you choose a company, ask yourself where you will be in five years' time. Once you have found a job, don't be afraid to ask questions – the more you get into the job the more you have to learn.