Tell us about yourself.
Hi there! My name is Carter. I studied Mechanical Engineering with a year abroad (MEng) in 2021 at the University of Birmingham. I’m interested in manufacturing processes, particularly the use of novel methods for prototyping or batch manufacture.
Which scheme are you on and which rotations have you completed?
I am on the Engineering Scheme at Ocado Technology, in my first year, and I’m currently in my third rotation, having started in September 2022.
My first role was as a Graduate Buyer working within Supply Chain and Procurement. This involved ensuring that all parts required for manufacturing our Bots were in the right place at the right time. I also took on a project aimed at reducing wastage of obsolescent parts.
My new job title is Graduate Mechanical Design Engineer, and I’m based in one of Ocado Technology’s development centres in Welwyn Garden City, UK. I normally work in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I’m part of the Battery Swap Team who are developing a unit that can swap Bot batteries with fully charged ones. This significantly reduces idle time, which improves the operational efficiency.
My part in the project involves working on communications with the installation teams, unifying the material list for the CAD Drawings, and completing some online modules to learn CAD Software.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Of course, every day is different, but typically I start with a review of my calendar, emails, and messages, then I make a plan for the day. I might have some tea and toast, then go to the team meeting. Project work takes up most of the day, then maybe some workshopping and wrap up, with some last minute emailing.
Why did you apply for an Ocado Group graduate scheme?
I think there were three main reasons: the graduate culture, the company culture and, of course, the technology.
I wanted a role alongside others in a similar stage of life as me so I could settle more quickly. Safe to say, I have colleagues who have become friends, which has made the transition into the working life much easier.
The culture at Ocado is very innovative, exploratory, and progressive. The focus is on progress, not perfection. Mistakes are seen as learning curves and problems are seen as challenges to overcome. Practically, this means that all the colleagues I have worked with have been very forgiving and have encouraged me to give things a go.
The robotics and other technologies that the business leverages are very interesting, and now I’m part of the team I’m endlessly impressed at how much of OSP is designed in house, from scratch. This means that the work that graduates get involved with from day one has real impact.
Where do you see the Ocado Group graduate scheme taking you?
I don’t have a definitive answer for this. The reason I wanted to join a rotational scheme, rather than just an entry level role, is that I wanted to try various jobs. This was both to develop a breadth of skills, but also to work out for myself what sort of role was for me. From my current experiences, I have learnt that I enjoy opportunities to get hands-on, so I know I want to steer towards roles that are less desk-based.
What advice would you give to someone applying to this scheme?
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! My advice would be for you to apply for anything you think you are suited for.
To be successful, it’s important to do some research into your specific scheme and Ocado Group’s work. For example, what is the OSP? What’s a CFC? What would you like to work on?
Take a chance to think about your answers before sharing concisely, entirely and clearly. I had assumed everyone had the same educational background as I did, which was often not the case and that assumption didn’t come across well.
Also, phrases like ‘I agree with you regarding X but have you considered Y’ are a good way to demonstrate teamwork. Avoid trying to interject with unrelated points.
Change your world with us
Our graduates programme intakes get the opportunity to try out a diverse range of teams and specialisms, right across our business, technologies, and operations. Learn more here.