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Claire Collins

University of Leeds

MA Nuclear Physics and Engineering
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The Big Picture

Claire joined Siemens Gamesa at their office in Hull in June 2017. She worked in the quality team at the wind turbine blade production factory, she was the very first quality intern in the at the site.

The Learning Curve

During her internship Claire became globally certified in differential scanning calorimetry, which is used in the factory to test turbine blades after they’ve been cast. A further accomplishment was that she helped the quality team to collate a portfolio of evidence which led to a customer service excellence accreditation.

“I think (the internship) definitely helped, it gave me an appreciation of how many jobs there are, that I’d never even heard of before…”

Claire’s Impact

After initially working in the quality team at the factory, Claire became involved in other aspects across the site and shaped her own internship. Claire became certified in differential scanning calorimetry and infrared spectroscopy. Her success was reflected by the fact her placement was extended by a further 3 months and she was involved in the recruitment process for her replacement. 

“I led a project to gain the Customer Service Excellence Accreditation for the Quality Department, resulting in the first of such accreditations awarded to Siemens Gamesa”

claire collins at work

The Physics Connection

Claire utilised the problem solving skills and determination she developed through her physics degree to progress in her role. She considered alternative solutions to approach issues and problems which arose, particularly in terms of data analysis and reporting. Her strong Excel skills helped her to present information in an accessible way.

The Professional Skills Stuff

Claire’s role required her to deliver presentations, and attend meetings with senior managers. She also presented to staff to explain changes to factory processes which she had introduced. She also managed the recruitment process of her replacement; this involved reviewing CVs, shortlisting interview candidates and attending the interview panel itself.

“I did quite a lot of presentations about the new processes that I implemented across the factory, particularly the infrared spectroscopy which took over from the differential scanning calorimetry in the factory. I also ran training sessions with segment team leads to roll out new processes for documenting work completed by their team, allowing weekly KPI’s to be generated”

The Company

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is a global engineering and technology services company, providing innovative solutions to help tackle the world’s major challenges in the areas of electrification, automation and digitalisation.Claire was based at their office in Hull at the blade production factory. 

“I was the very first intern the factory ever had within the quality team because it opened a year and a half before I joined”

What about Nerves?

Claire recognised that she was most nervous about moving to a new city where she knew no one and also knew very little about what her job would entail. She overcame this by finding ways to explore the city and engaged in new activities to meet new people. She also made an effort to get to know the team and put herself forward for as many opportunities as possible.

“STEM jobs continue to be male dominated despite the number of women studying STEM subjects increasing. Making strong friendships with fellow women breaking the mould is a great way to integrate yourself into new environments and feel confident to succeed within such a male dominated field.”

The Final Word…

“I would 100% recommend doing a year in industry to other students, there’s so many skills that you can put on your CV that you would never gain from just another year of uni”

… And the Next Step

Claire completed a Masters in Nuclear Physics and Engineering to further apply her physics skills. She started a new role as a Nuclear Engineer at BAE Systems in January 2021.

Skills Learned;

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