Can I be a flexible employee?

I have begun eagerly looking at some graduate roles to get an idea of what I can do in my final year, potentially two years, of university to give me that all important “edge”. Already making plans to look for some leadership roles and a fun team-based society, there was one bit of criteria that kept showing up in a lot of postings; flexibility.

Now this is one that popped up constantly! See, a lot of engineering graduate schemes work like so; over two years you work in four different placements in different parts of the company. This is a great way to learn a lot more about how the company works and how different departments come together, but also a great chance for those not too sure what specific area they want to go into right out of university. These four placements can be closely related, however it is typical for one to be in a very different area like purchasing or procurement. Especially with larger companies that have multiple offices, this usually means there is a good chance that you may do at least one of your six month rotations at another office, which may be on the other side of the country. That’s where this “flexibility” comes in.

It is one of the reasons I made damn sure that I had my license before my placement started, knowing I had made the right choice when my manager asked me in my interview if I was getting a license soon (passed my practical a month before my start date!). Of course, depending on the job style and location, many roles won’t need cars and relocations, but in engineering it seems so commonplace in graduate schemes that it has to be something I come to terms with. My heart is very set on Bristol as a future home, with many aerospace companies in the area and my beloved home of Cambridge having eye-watering rent prices. However, I know that as a graduate, I will be truly grateful for any of the wonderful opportunities I am offered by a company and am happy to offer flexibility for a few years before settling down somewhere, hopefully west!


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