Matthew Dilley


14 Jan Matthew Dilley

Job title: Product Manager
Type of position: Placement
Company: DSTL
Degree: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Why I loved it:

“When applying for placements I had very little idea about who I wanted to work for. The Placement and Careers Centre was very helpful with this, providing a large list of companies and lots of advice on securing my placement. One of the companies I selected to apply to was DSTL, a part of the Ministry of Defence that carries out research that can’t be performed by the private sector. The application process was fairly simple (a short form and an attached CV) and after a few weeks I was offered an interview with the Land Battlespace Systems Department. After only a few weeks I received a letter offering me a job at DSTL’s site in Portsmouth. I was invited to visit the site and meet the team I’d be working in. I spent the day discussing my roles with my line manager and also meeting colleagues who had joined the team in the last year. I found this very helpful as it allowed me to ask a lot of questions and find out their thoughts on the environment in which I’d be working.”

What I learned:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks and started to get into the routine of getting up every morning!  I was placed in the IT Logistics Group and although it wouldn’t have been an obvious choice for an Aerospace Engineer, it was very interesting and I learned quite a lot. I think it shows that any placement is worthwhile and not just the ones where you hope to get a job in the future. The first week was mostly about settling in to my new surroundings and getting to know everyone. There were a lot of names to remember and in the MoD even more acronyms! It was fairly easy to settle into the team, who had a pub lunch in honour of my arrival (although I think they could have found any excuse if they needed one), and I was brought in on a number of projects. During my second week I was heavily involved in a project on Deployed Information Systems, assisting in producing laydowns of the information networks for current and future scenarios. There were also a few other projects I was involved in, ranging from unmanned vehicles to storage of explosives and ammunition. As well as the projects, I’d already done a fair bit of introductory training and development, mainly Health & Safety and Security but I also signed up to attend a couple of events, including a symposium on work carried out by the company over the last year.”

About my experience/Tips for students:

“I would strongly advise you to take advantage of the mock interviews provided by the PCC as they really help you to prepare for the competency based interviews that you’re likely to get. I would also advise you to read up on your subject because my interview was also partly technical, asking me questions on a variety of subjects such as weapons systems and improvised explosive devices (IED’s). Although they didn’t expect me to know everything, I think my interest in defence really helped me to perform fairly well in the interview.”