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Principal Mechanical Design Engineer (NPP Group)

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
Reading, Berkshire, England
£55450 - £80000 per annum + + excellent benefits
Closing date
18 Apr 2023

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Principal Mechanical Design Engineer (NPP Group)

Location: Aldermaston, Berkshire (On-Site role)

Package: £55,400 - £80,000

About Us

AWE is one of the UK's 25 best big companies to work for. Join our 'One Engineering' culture and you will benefit from a supportive, friendly, and flexible environment that powers your career to chartership (if desired) and onwards to reach your professional goals. Achieve your full potential through mentoring, tailored training, and horizon-expanding secondments. At AWE you will find that diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our culture. Bring your unique perspective to our critical mission

What do we offer?

  • Time to recharge your batteries with 270 hours (including Bank Holidays) of annual leave - plus every other Friday off work!

  • Consideration for flexible working arrangements so that your work may fit in with your lifestyle. Just let us know on your application if you wish to work part time

  • Opportunities for Professional Career Development that include funding for the annual membership of a relevant professional body, access to mentors and training

  • Employee Assistance Programme and Occupational Health Services

  • A generous defined contribution Group Personal Pension (we will pay between 9% and 13% of your pensionable pay depending on your own contribution)

  • Life Assurance

  • Discounts - access to savings on a wide range of everyday spending

  • Special Leave Policy including paid time off for volunteering, public service (including reserve forces) and caring for your family

  • A host of voluntary & core benefits to suit your health and wellbeing - more information available on our careers site


The Nuclear Physics Package (NPP) group design, build, test and substantiate the safety and effectiveness of the UK's nuclear deterrent maintaining the Continuous At Sea Deterrent through pioneering science and computational methods. We also use our nuclear know-how and technical expertise to provide innovative solutions that support the UK's nuclear threat reduction activities.

Due to an increase in workload, we are currently recruiting for several roles across engineering. Below is a brief summary of the different opportunities.

Product Design Team - working with multi-discipline teams across the business to deliver innovative design solutions to a variety of unique engineering challenges, from concept to substantiation and providing through life engineering support for current and future systems.

Hydrodynamic Trials - design, build and field the extraordinary engineering tests and trials that underpin the pioneering science and computational methods that substantiate the safety and effectiveness of the UK's Nuclear Deterrent. This role will give successful candidates the opportunity to design complex systems with unique materials, build those designs with their own hands, and test them in extreme environments at unique test facilities in the UK and abroad.

Threat Response Team - Design, development, manufacture and assembly of hardware to support projects, trials and capability demonstrators. Support operational response through the provision of training aids and the undertaking of threat assessments for UK Government Departments.


  • Provide technical and line management leadership to a team of engineers, thinking strategically to balance short term deadlines with long term development of your design team.

  • Provide input into schedule and resource planning, understand skills and competencies required within the team and implement improvement measures.

  • Report directly to project senior leadership and customer communities.

  • Integrate solutions across both engineering and production areas to achieve efficient delivery of projects

  • Lead the delivery of conceptual designs, detail designs, manufacturing specifications, operational documentation and validation evidence for mechanical engineering solutions in relation to defined requirements.

  • Setting the strategy and managing the design intent across the full engineering lifecycle

  • Planning and prioritising activities across programmes and teams(s) to meet time, cost and quality constraints

  • Engaging with Stakeholders, programmatic deconfliction and advocacy at all levels

  • Owning and being ultimately responsible for all engineering deliverables as part of Trials Lifecycle Management (TLM), Experimental Equipment Design (EED) and Production Engineering (PE) processes

  • Implementing dynamic and hands-on technical leadership, coaching and developing a team through task management of Hydro, Drawing Office, and Tooling Design Engineers

  • Assuring product against safety and performance requirements, understanding the hazards and risks associated with any work conducted.

  • Production and delivery of high quality technical reports and presentations.

  • Identify and support opportunities for cost savings, efficiency and business improvement.

  • Lead in managing partnerships.

  • Support the Senior Engineer in the technical review and endorsement of future activity scoping documents, plans and estimates.

  • Aid the development of less experienced engineers through formal and informal, technical and professional mentoring.

  • Provide mentoring/coaching to colleagues within the team, and the wider group where appropriate.

  • Provide technical guidance and mentoring to junior engineers.

  • Maintain and promote high personal standards in environment, safety, health, security and quality and be a great team player

To support technical delivery, successful candidates will also be able to quickly grasp and articulate challenges and solutions. Proficiency in the following is therefore necessary:

  • Oral, written and presentation skills with an emphasis on generating written evidence

  • Interpersonal and communication skills to ensure effective leadership and communication across levels and disciplines (both internally and externally)

Qualification, Education and Experience Requirements

To be considered for this role you must have:

  • A Degree, HND/HNC or an equivalent vocational qualification, in an engineering discipline supported by extensive hands-on experience, with or working towards professional registration.

  • Hold or be working towards chartership in a professional body

  • Extensive awareness of technical assessments of existing products

  • Extensive awareness of the development, testing and evaluation of theoretical designs.

  • Production of outline designs.

  • Presenting and reviewing design plans and data to managers and clients.

  • Estimating budget and scope of projects.

  • Soliciting observations from operators.

  • Preparing and reviewing technical reports and documentation.

Preferred skills

Experience/understanding of any of the following would be advantageous, but not essential as role specific training will be given:

  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) including configuration management and quality control

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems

  • Engineering drafting to BS8888 with GD&T

  • Substantiating engineering designs for safety and performance

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and its limitations

  • Machine tools and manufacturing processes

  • Additive manufacturing processes and technologies

  • Static and dynamic environmental testing

  • Material selection and testing

  • Working to British and ISO Standards

  • Technical and management skills including problem solving and decision making

  • Testing of new innovations or experimental testing to underwrite safety and performance

  • Experience with stakeholders across Engineering, Science, Physics and production

  • Build experience either hands or working with stakeholders through the production process

Candidates must be willing and able to obtain and maintain the necessary security clearance for the role.


We’re looking for talented and ambitious people to join us in our work at the forefront of nuclear defence engineering, science and technology.

To work at AWE is to play a valuable part in keeping our country safe and secure.

Working at AWE gives you access to exceptional technologies, facilities and projects no ordinary company can provide – and the support of world-class professionals at every stage of your career.

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