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Antonio Innocente 

MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering

  • DevOps Engineer at FDM Group
  • Has been working as a Management Information System Engineer at Lloyds Banking Group for the past year
  • Decided to go into IT after completing his degree
Antonio Innocente, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering

My current role

"For the past year, I have been working as a Management Information System Engineer within the commercial sector of Lloyds Banking Group. I develop and maintain the Management Information System (MIS), which allows business users and management to carry out their operations and make informed decisions.

"Therefore, I would say that my main responsibility is to ensure that the information being delivered is accurate and reliable. There is a constant stream of new requirements coming in from stakeholders, which is referred to as the product backlog. There is a pleasant combination of pressure and a sense of adding value. The worst aspect of my job is the fact that I am a contractor, meaning that FDM could potentially send me to another company without much notice if they wanted to.

"The FDM graduate programme requires you to have a degree with a classification of at least 2:2 and a passion for IT. They accept degrees in any subject but they are most interested in STEM graduates, although I met an FDM consultant who did their degree in Music. They also require you to be geographically flexible within the UK because they have clients all over."

Choosing my sector

"I began my job search by actively seeking jobs within the chemical engineering industry, but my interest in IT grew as a I learnt about Industry 4.0 and how technology is now being used. There is much more opportunity in IT. 

"My role has stayed exactly the same (throughout Covid-19), my work continues as normal except remotely. Some of my teammates are still in Banbury, some are already in Edinburgh, I am back home in Bradford.

"By working remotely, we are collaborating effectively as a team but spontaneous meetings take more time and effort to arrange, compared to when we are all in the office together."

From my experience at Bradford, most lecturers and students knew each other personally and treated each other as friends, which I imagine to be less common at larger universities.

Choosing Bradford

"I already lived in Bradford with my parents before coming to the University.

"During my studies, Chemical Engineering at the University of Bradford became accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers and reached 4th rank in the Guardian University League Table.

"In terms of qualifications, I only needed a Bachelor’s to do what I am doing now. However, I believe that I developed a lot of valuable skills during my Stage 4, such as being able to investigate and transfer knowledge effectively even when the topic is complex."

Pursuing postgraduate

"Having a Bachelor’s degree was already common and going for the MEng was the fastest route towards achieving my goal at the time of becoming a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

"Whilst I was doing my university applications, I read on a student forum that it was easier to go from an MEng to a BEng, rather than the other way round. Considering this, I applied for the MEng programme in case I changed my mind. Towards the end of stage 3, I considered switching from the MEng (integrated Master’s) programme to the MSc (postgraduate) programme, but was not convinced to do so.

"However, some of my colleagues switched for two main reasons: they achieved a good grade in Stage 3 and did not like the idea of it being worth just 40% of their final grade had they continued onto Stage 4 and there were rumours that the MEng qualification was not internationally recognised as a genuine Master’s degree."

I would advise students that technology develops very quickly and we need to keep updating our skillsets; skills that are relevant now could potentially be irrelevant in five years.

Finding work

"After graduating, I looked at jobs such as Research and Development Engineer, Scientist, Polymer Engineering, Process Improvement Engineer and Lab Technician.

"I was one of the final candidates for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and Eurocell PLC. It was a two year project to help Eurocell develop larger PVC window frames, allowing them to compete with aluminium window frame manufacturers. 

"I went onto lots of job advertisement websites and set-up multiple automated notification emails. I created one big master CV that listed all of my skills and experience and whenever I applied for a job, I created a new copy of the master CV and removed all of the unrelated parts. One recruiter said she appreciated that I combined my cover letter and CV in the same document. Lots of recruiters called me after finding my CV on CV Library.

"I made at least 100 job applications and attended approximately 10 interviews after graduating. Finding a job was difficult. I once got invited to an interview three months after my application so I had to refresh my memory on what the role actually was whilst preparing for an interview for another role. Plus, I spent a lot of time and money travelling for interviews. Since employers receive so many applicants, they set-up multiple stages of assessment and sometimes ask candidates to prepare presentations. It did feel like a full-time job."