Adrian Bird, BSc (Hons) Applicable Mathematics and Computing, 2003; PhD Signal Processing, 2012

What are you doing now?

I’m currently employed by Rolls-Royce as a team leader for the data analytics team within the Controls and Data Systems Business unit. My team analyses service data to the onset of component failure, which can aid proactive maintenance and minimise the disruption to customers.

I started my journey 20 years ago, after leaving the Army, when I joined Rolls-Royce as a General Duties Operative on the shop floor of the Naval Marine manufacturing site. I was eventually promoted to be the Nuclear Materials Accountant for Core Design and Manufacturing. While in this role I was lucky enough to be sponsored by Rolls-Royce to do a part-time degree in Applicable Mathematics and Computing at Derby, which I completed in 2003. I then went on to various roles in the Civil Large Aero-Engines team. After completing my degree I was offered the opportunity to further my education by researching for an MPhil, this research was then promoted to a full PhD research project. I carried out the PhD project part-time while working full-time at Rolls-Royce, who again sponsored me to carry out this research. In 2012 I was awarded my PhD.

What were the main reasons you took that course?

The main reason that I took the course was the flexibility provided by the modular aspect of the teaching, which supported part-time study. Studying mathematics and computing has given me flexible and transferable skills that can be used within a variety of jobs.

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career? 

Completing my studies has enabled me to move from the manufacturing shop floor to more technically intense roles and onto a management role within a globally diverse company.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The lecturers inspired me during my degree and the research for my PhD by encouraging me to continue through the difficult times and by having an open door policy to provide additional support.

What are your future plans?

My future plan is to progress my career within Rolls-Royce; I may possibly consider taking an MBA in the future.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

I would say that the University provides a helpful and supportive environment in which to carry out your studies.

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I still have contact with the Maths lecturers and my PhD supervisor at the University and support a little bit of research with them.

"The lecturers inspired me during my degree and the research for my PhD by encouraging me to continue through the difficult times and by having an open door policy to provide additional support." Adrian Bird