At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one of the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development.
More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.
Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.
Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.
Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, visa and support with relocation (if applicable), regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!
An ideal role for a candidate with experience in developing and implementing quality assurance plans on major capital projects, able to influence stakeholders to ensure customer requirements and applicable standards are met.
The SKAO Product Assurance team is responsible for the definition and implementation of the quality assurance and control activities for the MeerKAT Extension and SKA Projects. The MeerKAT Extension Project will construct and incorporate 20 radio dishes into the now operational MeerKAT telescope (currently consists of 64 radio dishes and it is a precursor to the SKA Telescope). The Extended MeerKAT will be used to perform science program during the time leading up to the MeerKAT integration into the SKA Telescope.
Reporting to the Product Assurance Manager, the Product Assurance Engineer will be responsible for the practical implementation of the quality assurance requirements of the SKA project, providing regular updates to the project team. This requires regular contact with the contractors to review and evaluate their work outputs at the different stages of the contract to ensure that they follow the processes defined in their quality plans; their solutions comply with requirements, applicable standards and regulations; and enlist the support of Subject Matter Experts as needed when carrying out these activities. Thus, the Product Assurance Engineer plays a major role in assuring the quality of the delivered products and their subsequent integration into the SKA Telescope system.
The Product Assurance required for SKAO will involve several challenges which are unique to research infrastructures. The successful candidate will rise to these challenges and overcome them to help deliver a world leading science facility. This will require good problem-solving skills, flexibility and adaptability to the ways of working in a research environment in order to come up with innovative theoretical ideas to problems and translating them to practical solutions for implementation.
The Product Assurance Engineer will be based at the SKAO headquarters in the UK but will also work in the field at contractors sites, the SKAO test facilities and the Telescope construction sites. Therefore, regular international travel to these sites will be required. Some duties may require occasional extended stays of up to 4 weeks in host countries, subject to visa requirements.
SKAO is committed to providing a flexible working environment meeting the requests of our Colleagues whilst also fulfilling the needs and objectives of the Observatory. We encourage open conversations during the interview and application process in relation to any specific requirements, and later with line managers to assess individual flexible working arrangements alongside the needs of the organisation and responsibilities and accountabilities of the specific role and team.
Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties
Quality Management System
- Contribute to the development of each Statement of Work to ensure quality requirements are clearly specified in contracts
- Review contractors' quality policy statements and plans to enable the Project Managers to accept them
- Monitor the implementation of the contractors' quality plans
- Work with Subject Matter Experts, Project Managers, and Contractors to identify critical items and raise early warnings, and follow up with their resolution
- Liaise with the Project Managers to ensure relevant disciplines - especially in specific risk areas - are available on the client side to support the quality assurance activities
- Regularly report to the project team on the overall implementation of the contractors' quality plans
- Lead the conduct of Quality Audits of allocated contracts and support other Product Assurance team members with the conduct of their audits
- Convene and/or attend and minute meetings including Early Warning meetings where related to product quality
- Log Learning from Experience (LfE) for all activities and ensure they are embodied in entry criteria into all reviews
- Maintain quality records that include contractor's progress records including where applicable imagery
Tests and Inspections
- Review contractor's test and inspection plans
- Clarify with the contractor those products which the scope states are to be tested or inspected before receiving and delivery to working areas
- Ensure that off-site tests or inspections are passed before items are delivered
- Identify and clarify with the contractors the standards to be applied in the manufacture, assembly, integration, inspection and test activities of the project
- Carry out planned mandatory inspections to assess the manufacturing, assembly, integration, inspections and test operations that are performed by the contractors to ensure they comply with the quality requirements, applicable standards and regulations
- Incorporate the considerations of SKA Safety Management in the scrutiny of test and inspection results
- Monitor, witness and report on tests and inspections activities
- Advise the Project Manager on the outputs of test and inspection activities that might affect payments and completion
- Notify contractors of nonconformances and defects
- Ensure all nonconformances are timely resolved in accordance with the agreed non-conformance management process
- Ensure the Defects Register is up to date throughout the duration of the contract
- Advise the Project Manager regarding the acceptance of defects and uncorrected defects
- Issue Defects Certificate
Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- Degree in manufacturing engineering or related disciplines, or equivalent experience
- Experience in carrying out quality assurance related activities on major capital projects (typically at least three years)
- Demonstrable understanding of one or more of both mass production and bespoke manufacturing processes that pertain to electronic equipment, civil works, plant/machinery, large fabricated structures and distribution systems (power, data, fluids)
- Experience of planning and carrying out of test and inspections on equipment and systems
- Experience of safety management systems
- Knowledge and implementation of ISO 9001 (or equivalent) in major capital projects
- Strong willingness to develop and maintain own knowledge in the area of quality assurance and control
- Ability to listen and communicate effectively, verbally and in writing
- Ability to influence and change behaviour of internal and external stakeholders
- Self-motivated problem-solver, proactive and flexible team player who is adaptable to change
- Ability and willingness to travel extensively, including for possible extended stays of up to 3 months in Australia and South Africa (subject to visa limitations)
Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- Knowledge of working in the space or research infrastructure (preferably astronomy) industries
- Knowledge of the design and production of specialist scientific equipment such as cryogenics
- Understanding of systems engineering processes and familiarity of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 standard
- Understanding of agile software development processes
- Quality Assurance certifications
- Knowledge of NEC4 contracting
- Knowledge and experience of Contract Event Management and Reporting (CEMAR) tool
- Membership of, or eligibility for membership of, recognised national or international organisations such as International Register of Certificated Auditors
Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement
SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.
Our aim is to recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background.
Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory welcomes and encourages female applicants.
Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.
SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.
The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.