Ibukun Ajayi

Ibukun Ajayi

Engineering Future Leaders Programme

From a young age, I have been enthralled by the aviation industry. I remember one of my primary school teachers setting us the task of building an electric fan; I went several steps further and turned my fan into a plane!

I studied aerospace engineering at Kingston University. On completing my degree, I of course relished the opportunity to join Heathrow’s Engineering Professional Development program and to work at Britain’s busiest airport.

The scheme provides excellent opportunities for development. Throughout each of the placements I have completed so far, I have been able to gain experience across a wide range of projects and business units, building up a wealth of engineering knowledge and professional skills along the way. I have also had the chance to work towards Chartered Engineer status, with mentoring from an IMechE accredited manager.

For my first placement, I was based within Terminals 3 and 4. It was a great way to start my Heathrow career, giving me exposure to everything from surveys to airbridge operations and from shadowing passenger experience managers to working with our asset information team.

The placement gave me some really useful insights into contractor management. For one of my projects, I had to liaise closely with our lifts, escalators and passenger conveyors contractor, as we worked together to try and improve the design of emergency stop buttons. It was fascinating to be able to see our engineering from both sides.

My second placement was with our asset management team. It’s a fabulous team to work in. When I first joined, everyone went out of their way to draw me in and make me feel welcome. It’s also enabled me to get involved in some unexpected projects and activities – things like audit preparations and competency mapping that you would not usually associate with an engineering career. It has opened my eyes to the vastness of Heathrow and the sheer range of opportunities on offer.

Getting the chance to support airbridge maintenance  has to be one of my biggest highlights so far. This maintenance happens at night when Heathrow is closed to aircraft. The airport is quite a sight from the top of the access crane: a huge expanse lit white, green and blue by the runway and taxiway lighting, but quiet and calm. A stark contrast to operations during the day!

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