Friday, 21 August 2015

What is it like to complete a SATRO Extended Work Placement? Case Study by Toby Peterken

My name is Toby Peterken.  I am currently a student at Esher College.  For my AS year I studied maths, further maths, physics and philosophy and now, for my final year, I am continuing with maths, further maths and physics.   Following my A Levels, I am hoping to complete a degree in either physics or theoretical physics.  I aim to remain in academia - achieving a Ph.D. and then staying on as a research fellow and with any luck becoming a professor of physics. 

I heard about the SATRO placements through an email from college and applied for a placement for several reasons.  Obviously it looks amazing on a UCAS form or a CV, however that wasn’t my motivation.  My main draw to this placement was that it was the first opportunity I have had to make a real contribution.  With year 10 work experience placements or with 1 week summer academies you learn a lot, however you never seem to do any actual work, whereas my work at SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd) did matter – it was the first time this technique had been looked at on land in such significant amounts, so everything I did was new. 

My project was to analyse the data from a satellite to see if there were any correlations between the strength of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) reflections and the landforms below and by doing this, see if there were any useful applications of this.  The first 2 weeks were spent mainly programming; I had to create the tools that mapped the data onto Google Earth.  Then we realised that there was too much data and the computer kept crashing, so I had to program another tool that allowed me to load only the data in a certain region.  Then I had to analyse the data, discovering correlation with different landforms below and showing that this technique could potentially be used for mapping deforestation.  I also got to reprogram the timing system for the receiver on the satellite.  

The main skill I learned was programming, this includes more than just learning what a particular line of code does.  I had to learn how to break down large problems into small tasks.  I learned how to go through and debug a program with rigour.  I wrote a program in my first week which, although it worked, was written inefficiently and it just felt messy, so during my last week I rewrote it.  From what I had learned initially, I was able to make the code more elegant and I completed it in much less time. I also understood what other job opportunities were on offer, as I had no idea how much variation there could be with applied physics.    

Friday, 14 August 2015


Apprentice/Junior Administration Assistant
Full time - salary £10,500 per annum

We're looking for a bright, motivated individual to help with all aspects of business administration, including: 

• Answering telephone and email enquiries 
• Preparing materials for events 
• Support on financial matters, including invoicing 
• Database updating 
• Support on sourcing materials for events 

There would also be an opportunity for the post holder to learn basic finance, with coaching and mentoring provided by our Finance Officer. 

Future Prospects

The right candidate would ideally be interested in picking up basic finance skills, which could lead to other roles in finance if they had an aptitude for it. This position would give them a sound working knowledge of office administration and business practices, allowing them to progress into any office/business environment. SATRO works with hundred of volunteers from all types of companies across Surrey, so this is a great opportunity to find out about lots of career opportunities too. 

Skills Required

The right person needs to have good communication skills and be comfortable making internal and external telephone calls.

You need to be organised and be able to work well on your own, as well as part of a team.

You need to be able to take instruction and work effectively.

IT Skills i.e. Word, Powerpoint, Excel. Specialised training will be reviewed frequently and provided where necessary. 

The candidate needs to have an out-going personality as they will be expected to communicate with customers.

All SATRO members of staff are required to have an enhanced DBS check.

If you would like more information visit this link. For a job description, please email Amalee Gamache using:

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter, answering the following two questions:

1. Why do you want to work for SATRO?
2. What attributes do you possess which are relevant to this role?

Closing date: 8th September 2015
Interviews: Week Commencing 14th September 2015

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Sam Mansfield - SATROclub Extended Research Placement - KBC

Sam Mansfield of Esher College is currently completed his SATROclub Extended Research Placement at KCB Advanced Technologies, a leading independent oil and gas consulting and technology company. The research project Sam is doing will make use of process simulation to contribute to KBC's innovation program for 2015. The project will be on a refinery unit operation. 

Here's what Sam had to say about his experience so far...

"So far I have created a weathering model that simulates the effect of boil off on the composition of stored LNG and nitrogen injection into exported LNG to maintain wobbe index. It currently supports continuous import and export and adjusts the rate nitrogen injection so that wobbe index of export LNG stays at a constant defined value. It can manually simulate weathering and nitrogen injection for discrete imports and varying continuous exports, however this is a fairly high effor and time consuming process. I need to find a way to pass through values in the time series so that composition and flow rate of accumulation is conserved over each state within the time series without being overwritten by the next state's calculations so it can be done automatically. Neither I nor my supervisor could find an elegant way of allowing this within petro-sim. A meeting with the person who came up with my project idea has been arranged to discuss potential ways of coming up with a more elegant solution to this problem."

Thank you Sam! We wish you the best of luck for the rest of your placement at KCB. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Eloise Knights - SATROclub Extended Research Placement - CGL

Eloise Knights of Tormead School is currently completing her SATROclub Extended Research Placement at CGL (Card Geotechnics Ltd). 

A large site located in Silvertown, London, immediately to the north of the River Thames which is a former industrial estate, including an oil depot, that is to be developed for mixed residential and commercial uses with multiple basements across the footprint. The site is 15ha in area and divided into 3 former wharves. An investigation scope is required to assess the ground related risks to determine the likely impact to construction of the development, both in terms of risk due to contamination and risk relating to stability of the buildings (i.e. foundations and retaining walls). Research is required on the type of ground investigation techniques available, what would be applicable and cost effective and the likely cost of the overall ground investigation. Information is also required to show the Client the importance of ground investigations in the construction industry and how early spending on a detailed ground investigation limits risk and eventually construction costs. Eloise is working with the team at CGL to help conduct this research required. 

Here's what Eloise had to say about her placement so far...

"I began the placement having very little experience of the Engineering discipline which include, Geology and Geotechnical Engineering. Despite my minimal knowledge and understanding, it became apparent that these branches of engineering were more familiar than I had anticipated. Similar to chemical and electrical engineering, Geotechnics involves the analysis and observation of  problems in order to acquire the most appropriate method to resolve the problem. Fortunately, having a mind that enjoys logic and reason, I very quickly understood the processes and engineering methods used by the company to approach the environmental and geological problems. Throughout this week, my appreciation of the significance of what the company does has grown even greater, and likewise my interest."

SATRO wishes Eloise the best of luck for the rest of her placement!