Spotlight: Callum Maloney, Electrical Engineer, Aecom


Tell us a fun fact about yourself.


I did an exchange year whilst in my fourth year at university in Singapore.


It was a great opportunity to travel and experience different cultures, while continuing my studies!



Tell us about your career journey so far.



I studied technical and science subjects at school and always found these to be the most interesting so from there I applied to The University of Strathclyde to study Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. At the time of applying to universities, I remember not being 100% sure which discipline of Engineering to study. I had to decide which area of engineering to focus on e.g. civil, structural, mechanical engineering. After researching electrical and mechanical engineering, and the future career opportunities offered with these disciplines, I found there was a joint degree which encompassed both subjects and decided to go for this!


To help me make this decision, I looked through university brochures which explained the benefits of the studying at the university in general and the specific content of the courses offered, as well as going to as many university open days as possible.


What was your favourite subject in school and why?


I’m going to cheat a bit here and say two subjects – Technological Studies and Physics. I liked these two as they explained how everyday objects worked as well as introducing me to the fundamentals of key topics such as electronics and electrical circuits which I then went onto learn in more detail at university and still use in my day to day job today!


What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?


Having an ability to apply knowledge from maths and other technical subjects like physics and tech. studies to real world problems to arrive at a solution is key to my role. Engineering is often described as problem solving but a key skill that’s often understated is applying the theoretical or “book learning” to actual real world problems is crucial in my opinion. An important part of this is knowing where to look for input information and applying any assumptions where there’s any missing data. This skill applies to my current role and I think it can be universally applied to most (if not all) engineering jobs!

What is your favourite thing about your job?


My favourite thing about my job is being able to collaborate with like-minded people to solve real world problems that play a part in the push to a net-zero carbon future. One particular project that I’ve worked on in the past which I found very interesting and rewarding was called Solar Nigeria. This project involved installing solar panels and battery storage systems in various parts of Nigeria. The location of the sites where often rural and the access to a reliable electricity system was difficult. The electricity supplies from the micro-grid systems delivered energy to critical buildings such as hospitals, health centres, schools and medical centres.


What is a normal day in your role like?


On a daily basis I use electrical modelling software to understand how electrical networks operate and have regular calls and meetings with my team members and other teams/departments to discuss project work. My role is predominantly desk based with the odd site visit where required.


For example, I went to site in September last year to deliver a training course for the client on one particular project. The majority of my time is spent on my computer, whether that is reviewing technical drawings and documents, using modelling software, writing reports or technical notes (short reports). I communicate with my team mates regularly through Teams calls where we can share our screen and discuss the project whilst looking at a circuit diagram, site plan, map or whatever other drawing or document is useful for that particular project. All our design work needs to meet industry standards which we use on a daily basis.


And what does your job title mean?


My job is to basically help facilitate renewable sources of generation to connect to the electrical power grid. Traditionally, big central power stations which burned fossil fuel such as coal or gas where the main sources of electricity, however that is rapidly changing as nowadays more and more renewable sources of generation (such as wind turbines and solar panels) connect to the electrical grid. This is good in the push for net-zero but it comes with a new set of challenges which is what my work involves. There are also changes happening on the demand side – where and how people use electricity – such as electric cars and different types of electric heating such as heat pumps, so there is a lot of change in the energy sector in the near future for sure!


Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?


There are lots of great resources for primary and secondary pupils on The IET’s website, from Lego Leagues to building spaghetti bridges! See the website for more info: https://education.theiet.org/