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From Retail to Nuclear Senior Engineer

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Andrea Alexander

Senior Engineer


I started my professional career in the retail industry and after several years I decided to go for a change in career and joined Manchester Metropolitan University to study Mechanical Engineering as a mature student.

Whilst growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to do after leaving school, I tried various subjects such as pharmaceuticals and Molecular Biology but they never fulfilled my expectations.

I eventually began working in retail and did really enjoy it. I enjoyed the fast-paced environment and working with people, I just felt that I could be challenging myself more, so because of my enjoyment of maths and science at school, I decided to give engineering a go, and instantly knew that was the career for me.

After graduating with the highest grades on the course, I joined Engineering Analysis Services Limited (EASL), an engineering consultancy that specialises in structural engineering analysis for the nuclear sector, based in Altrincham, where I still currently work. Since joining, I have progressed to my current role of Senior Engineer and technical team lead of six engineers.

I chose to study mechanical engineering as I thoroughly enjoyed maths and science as a child. Once at university, I excelled in analytic subjects, so I knew I’d made the right decision and career path of studying to become an engineer.

I have had many achievements as an engineer, but the single most important accomplishment has to be a personal one; I feel extremely proud and honoured to be a female in the engineering industry and to have progressed to roles of a senior engineer, single point of contact (SPoC) and a team lead.

I have had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects with some of the greatest engineers and experts in the sector and so far, the most interesting project I have been involved in has been a nuclear power station outage support. As the saying goes: “no pain, no gain” and on this occasion while it is being the most interesting and rewarding, it has definitely been the most challenging. Nevertheless, we have managed to achieve high standards and meet the delivery expectations through an outstanding performance and strong collaboration with my team. As always the best reward is to share the positive feedback with the people that worked so hard alongside me to meet and exceed the clients’ expectations.

An average day for me would be ensuring fulfilling single point of contact (SPoC) and TE role, undertaking/following up on any tasks of relevance. Other jobs would include carrying out technical work on specific tasks I am organising or verifying, briefing my team on on-going or new tasks and assisting them with the technical work or project management tasks for four nuclear power stations.

As a senior engineer and team lead, it is extremely rewarding to support and mentor graduate engineers in my team, helping them to develop professionally into the industry’s next generation of experts. Creating a working environment that promotes integration and diversity and promoting personal and professional growth by sharing our knowledge and skills with our team motivates me to be the best leader and manager I can be.

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