Adastral Park
Careers & Education   >   IET Engineering open house day
Welcome to IET Engineering open house day at Adastral Park!
Engineering Open House Day (EOHD) aims to help 5-16 year-olds and their parents/carers understand what it's like to work as an engineer or technologist across a huge range of organisations, to demonstrate the breadth of creative and innovative careers on offer.
On Friday 23 July 2021, we were delighted to give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes virtual event at Adastral Park – home to over 150 high-tech companies – as part of the IET's Engineering Open House Day.
There are lots of different activities from pushing the boundaries of technology; to developing new products and services; to keeping the park secure and running and they all involve engineering and technology in some way. We showcase here some of the people who work at the park: they share a little about what they do and their career journey so far.
If you take part in the activities and watch the videos, this all counts toward the Youth STEMM Awards!
Matt, Senior Manager for Adastral Park, gives a brief introduction to the day...
Photo of Matt Capp
Photo of Matt Capp
Senior Manager, Research Strategy & Adastral Vision, BT
Key qualifications: BSc and Msc in Advanced Methods of Computer Science, and MSc in Telecoms Engineering
What does your job involve? I am responsible for ensuring that BT's research programme delivers value to the business so I get to see across the breadth of BT's research technology, from AI to TV, from cyber to IoT and from mobile to fast fixed networks.
How did you get into your current role? My career started as a post-graduate working in a research department building software development skills. After that I worked in the financial services industry writing software that supported equity derivatives traders and actuaries to make the right investments. I also worked in a start-up company leading a development team before I moved to BT's Applied Research department looking at some of the most interesting technology in the world!
What did you want to be when you were younger? When I was young it was the early days of computers, so after I started programming I wanted a job that used computers to make people's lives better.
What do you do outside work? My hobby is playing electric guitar, and I love playing along to Metallica loudly – I'm not sure my neighbours are so keen though!! 😃
Explore engineering roles from across Adastral
We've collected together a number of profiles from different people across Adastral Park who either work as engineers or support engineering roles through the work they do - you might be surprised by the variety of roles and the types of engineering done at the park. Be sure to click on the video buttons to hear more about a person's role and their career journey into the world of engineering.
The Network Operations Centre (NOC) based at Adastral Park is critical to making sure you have a broadband connection at home. What does it take to work somewhere so important? What engineering skills would you need? What would inspire someone to come and work in the NOC?
Photo of Hursh Mistry
Photo of Hursh Mistry
Technology Graduate, BT
Key qualifications: Meng Electrical and Electronic Engineering
What does your job involve? Current role looks into transformation of network operations, focussing on how we can better improve our processes for engineers and in turn our customers.
How did you get into your current role? Started as a graduate, where you go through a rotational programme, so this is my final rotation before I roll off into a role. I have had previous rotations in solution design and delivery management, both of which put me in good stead for this role!
What did you want to be when you were younger? I always wanted to be an engineer or pilot when I was younger! Was a thrill seeker and never could sit still, which wasn't fun for my parents at times.
What do you do outside work? I really enjoy playing sports, such as football and cricket but also over lockdown have got into gaming.
Photo of Rubed Islam
Photo of Rubed Islam
Technology Graduate working in Network Operations Transformation, BT
Key qualifications: 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Computer Science
What does your job involve? Analysing problems and finding effective solutions to assist the operations teams do their jobs effectively. The best thing about my job is meeting a range of people and working collaboratively on projects that add visible value to BT.
How did you get into your current role? During my 2nd/3rd year I focused on applying to jobs more than my degree. I was fortunate enough to be offered a role on the Grad scheme at BT just before the Pandemic, but I was generally looking at ventures in large technology firms like IBM, Microsoft, Google and others.
What did you want to be when you were younger? My future dreams varied a lot as you will soon be able to tell. I liked the simplicity of being a bus driver, the idea of inspiring the next generation by becoming a Computer Science or Maths Teacher, or leading medium sized company as CEO but my biggest dream was to be Hiro from Big Hero 6 (Technologist) and this started my research into BCI.
What do you do outside work? I like to research Automation and Brain Computer Interfaces, make ice cream and build small scale Lego robots (Lego™ EV3)

When everything from your computer to your tv to your fridge is connected, how do we use engineering skills to make sure all of your connected devices are safe? How do we make sure devices are connected for good, not for bad purposes? what sort of skills do our engineers need to keep you safe?
Photo of Ben Azvine
Photo of Ben Azvine
Prof. Ben Azvine
Global Head of Security Research, BT
Key qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD, MBA, Fellow of IET
What does your job involve? My job is to think about how to protect BT and its customers in the future and develop ways to make this happen. I'm an engineer so I build systems that no one has built before to stop the bad guys from attacking our customers.
How did you get into your current role? I was an academic doing really interesting AI research but wanted to apply them to real world problems. I heard about the really interesting research at the then BT Labs and decided to join. I've held various positions in the research department - the last one being the head of security research 15 years ago. I liked it so much I'm still doing this.
What did you want to be when you were younger? My choice was heavily influenced by my father who was an electronics engineer and an inventor. I wanted to follow in his footsteps - I used to watch him talk enthusiastically about inventing new systems and devices. I was fascinated by Robots when I went to University in Manchester and that is how I got into AI. Now I'm using AI to build next generation Cyber defence systems.
What do you do outside work? I used to play a lot of sport when I was younger, particularly Basketball and Table Tennis. I now spend most of my spare time playing Golf when it is allowed. Otherwise I like walking and watching movies.
Photo of Leah Claireaux
Photo of Leah Claireaux
Cyber Security Research Professional, BT
Key qualifications: BSc Software Engineering, currently enrolled on MSc Data Science
What does your job involve? Creating new artificial intelligence algorithms to detect malicious network activity on BT's network. Creating patents, writing papers, and presenting my findings at various events. The best thing about my job is that I get to apply my own research to my everyday role.
How did you get into your current role? Started as a network engineer apprentice. Worked as a software engineer developing applications, and now applying that knowledge with data science in a security environment.
What did you want to be when you were younger? RAF pilot/Lawyer.
What do you do outside work? Going to the gym, and I've recently been learning to snowboard.

You may have seen one of our Openreach engineers in the streets, maintaining the green cabinets which deliver broadband into your home, but what are they doing when you see them? What's a typical day like for an engineer in Openreach? how do their skills connect customers to each other?
Photo of Joshua Hutton
Photo of Joshua Hutton
Advanced Telecommunications Engineer, Openreach
Key qualifications: Math and English A*-C
What does your job involve? Creating connections, whether it be a vital emergency phone line or a broadband connection to allow the use of applications such as FaceTime, the day to day development and maintenance of the UK digital network infrastructure allows us to connect people to one another.
How did you get into your current role? I previously went into catering when I left school, as my life went on I found myself wanting to change things up and learn some new skills. The Openreach apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to do just that.
What did you want to be when you were younger? A Doctor (turns out I'm not so good with blood)
What do you do outside work? I enjoy walking my German Shepard, playing tennis and spending time with my wife and two little ones.

Robots don't think for themselves, at least not yet anyway. What engineering skills are needed to make a robot move? What kind of roles in engineering are needed to make robots useful? we speak to members of the team from Innovation Martlesham company, Fox Robotics, to understand what skills they need to work with robots.
Photo of Paula Alejandra Acevedo
Photo of Paula Alejandra Acevedo
Marketing Manager and Business Developer, Fox Robotics
Key qualifications: BSc International business with management
What does your job involve? My job role is very diverse. I not only create campaigns for our company to gain exposure on social media, I have also created a new company website which will be available soon. My job role also includes creating relationships with new clients (farmers) and scouting for investment opportunities to ensure we keep on growing.
How did you get into your current role? Whilst I was studying at university I came across the opportunity of doing some basic marketing work, such as updating the CRM.
What did you want to be when you were younger? When I was younger, I went through different stages of career aspirations. I wanted to be an archaeologist, then a fashion designer, doctor and then neurosurgeon. During college, I took sometime to reflect what interested me and what life style I wanted to pursue. Business in the tech sector caught my eye.
What do you do outside work? I enjoy exercising, latin dancing especially. I am also interested in film analysis, architecture and baking/cooking.

Apprentices and graduates
Hear from some of our grads and apprentices about what their day job involves and how to apply if you're interested.
Photo of Violeta Novakovic
Photo of Violeta Novakovic
Graduate – Research and Innovation, BT
Key qualifications: 3 Alevels in Chemistry, Biology and English Literature, First Class Masters of Chemistry Degree from the University of East Anglia.
What does your job involve? As a team we conduct business critical research and we leverage partnerships with universities and other institutions to work together on projects.
How did you get into your current role? From university I joined the BT graduate scheme.
What did you want to be when you were younger? When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer but then realised science was much more fun and exciting.
What do you do outside work? I am a cover dance teacher at a local theatre school.
Photo of Hanifa Hamilton
Photo of Hanifa Hamilton
Graduate Technical Consultant, BT
Key qualifications: Bsc Computing with Hons
What does your job involve? As part of the Cyber Assurance team, I make sure that the technology is ready before it gets delivered to the customer.  Verification and validation are key elements, and this confirms if the solution is it fit for purpose and if it has it been built as designed. Automation framework tools like robot and selenium are used to carry out these tasks.
How did you get into your current role? Whilst being a student I was encouraged to look for jobs and I saw an advert for BT on Target Job's website where I previously attended an event for women in STEM called “IT is not just for boys”.  In 2018 I applied to BT as a 2nd year Computing student at University West of Scotland. During my 12 week summer internship, I fell into Global Secure Solutions otherwise known as GSS and I worked on a proof of concept on hybrid cloud. Once I passed this then I was invited back to come and join the grad program as part of the “next gen protectors”.
What did you want to be when you were younger? I wanted to work in a medical environment where I could help people overcome any illnesses and become healthier. I saw it as a job that would help make a difference in the world.
What do you do outside work? I love being creative in the kitchen and enjoy cooking. It helps me destress and allows me to think outside the box. A fun fact about me is that I have met many celebrities during my time in hospitality. Sadly I wasn't allowed to take any selfies or ask for autographs!
Photo of Leonardo Taskin
Photo of Leonardo Taskin
Applied Research Apprentice, BT
Key qualifications: Currently studying for a Bachelor of Science degree: Digital and Technology Solutions
What does your job involve? I currently enjoy rotating around different research teams as part of my apprenticeship. This allows me to experience the exciting and different branches of technological research.
How did you get into your current role? I studied Maths, Biology and Chemistry for A-level and discovered the Research Apprenticeship while at work experience at Adastral Park.
What did you want to be when you were younger? An astronomer- I loved studying the sky and using a telescope.
What do you do outside work? I enjoy swimming with my team and participating in competitions.

Showcasing Engineering
Engineering takes many forms, and most of it is invisible and when it's done well, you don't even notice it. But if you want to showcase the best in engineering, how do you do it? Adastral Park's Innovation Showcases specialise in demonstrating the latest and greatest technological innovations.
Photo of Shane Allum
Photo of Shane Allum
Showcase, Downstreaming Research and Innovation Specialist, Colleague Board representative for BT Technology, BT
Key qualifications: 1st Honours Degree in Digital Technology Solutions - Software Engineering, Foundation Degree Network Technologies
What does your job involve? My role involves demonstrating amazing technology innovations, such as robots and holograms to some of BT's biggest customers. I'm also a member of BT's Colleague Board: working with senior leaders to shape the way we work at BT.
How did you get into your current role? I started my career with BT as an apprentice working in the Network Operations Centre, helping to manage the UK's broadband connectivity. As a result, I won the National Apprenticeship Services' 'Apprentice of the Year' award in 2011. I then became an Apprentice Coach, mentoring the next generation of apprentices. In 2014 I moved into a new role working in BT TV, helping to manage the testing and build of software and hardware which ultimately gives our customers a great viewing experience at home. In 2018 I started my current role as an Innovation Specialist in the Customer Centre and showcases. This is the job I was made for and I absolutely love it!
What did you want to be when you were younger? I've wanted to be a fireman, an astronaut and an architect. After work experience at the BBC I thought I wanted to be a cameraman, with lockdown I've found myself mostly in front of the camera instead!
What do you do outside work? I love exploring the world when I can, be that walking, climbing mountains or running marathons. I'm a huge fan of Marvel and Star Wars and I like being creative too, be that photo or video editing, drawing, building things out of clay (and Lego!).
Who's supporting IET Engineering open house day?
We are really grateful to our supporters in helping to bring together all this fantastic content: