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Where are they now? Sanaa Dawod - Leonardo

11th Jun 2018

Here at e-Placement Scotland we have just created our milestone 2000th placement so we thought it would be a good opportunity to celebrate some of our past placement students with a “Where are they now?” guest blog article

We recently caught up with Sanaa Dawod, who was our 2017 e-Placement Scotland “Placement of the year” award winner for the summer placement that she undertook with Leonardo.

Sanaa Dawod

Why you did a placement?

I decided to do a summer placement after my 3rd and 4th years of university, as I had opted for the MEng Fast-Track option which my university offered. This meant that I was able to do my Masters degree in 4 years rather than 5, by taking two summer placements and university modules over both summers. I went for this option, as it allowed me to gain experience in industry before I had even finished my degree, meaning I could put my academic lessons into practice. I also felt this would make me more appealing to future employers, as I would already have some experience in industry.

What you learnt from placement?

The placement was an entirely different environment to university life, which I feel prepared me and gave me an advantage when I left academia – I felt I was more aware of what was expected of me. My placement had a learning plan for the duration of the 3 months which consisted of 5 objectives. My managers varied the objectives, so there was a combination of both technical and non-technical objectives.

This allowed me to gain a wide range of experience of the company and the industry as a whole, as well as giving me the opportunity to learn a new programming language and develop and test an application for Leonardo’s new Test System Software Architecture. I also gained an appreciation for the teamwork required in projects, where a wide ranging group of people from different functions work together on a project. In terms of personal development, I gained a lot of confidence and conviction that I was capable of being an engineer – which I feel is something you cannot get from university alone. 


What you did after your placement?

After my first summer placement at Leonardo, I was offered a Graduate Software Engineer role. I went on to do a second summer placement with Leonardo and finished my Masters degree, before starting my role as a Graduate Software Engineer. In my current role, I am carrying on my work with the new Test System Software Architecture, so it can be implemented in future projects within the company. My placements have helped to prepare me for this role in a variety of ways.

I’m more confident and I’m willing to take on any challenge due to my positive experience of achieving my placement objectives and I know when it is necessary to ask for assistance. I also now have a good base of technical knowledge to progress the applications I am working on currently. If I hadn’t undertaken this placement, there would have been a much longer training period when I started to ensure I was ready.

How has undertaking your placement helped you to do what you are doing now?

My placements have made me more confident, giving me the advantage of adjusting to working in industry while gaining practical technical knowledge. This allowed me to jump straight into my Graduate role with a shorter transition period. My advice to anyone looking to do a placement is to go for it, you will not regret it. Take every opportunity that you’re given during your placement, ask questions, speak to as many people as you can and make good links with the people in the company. This will undoubtedly help you in the future.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank both Leonardo and Sanaa for using the e-Placement Scotland service. #paidplacements

If you are a past e-Placement Scotland placement student and are interested in writing your own #wherearetheynow blog article please contact Nicola Taylor, Candidate Matching Co-ordinator :


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