Rebecca Cuthbertson

I'd like that job - Rebecca Cuthbertson mechanical design and systems engineer Sagentia

Working as a mechanical design and systems engineer means a lot of variety. Rebecca’s work can range from designing in CAD, prototyping and testing, to analytical modelling and tolerance analyses.

What’s your name?

Rebecca Cuthbertson.



Where do you work?

At Sagentia, a Cambridge-based technology and product development company.

What's your job title?

Mechanical design and systems engineer.

How long have you been in your role?

A year and a half.

How did you find the job?

Sagentia was brought to my attention by my careers centre at university. I got accepted for a summer placement working in the mechanical design group and went on to join as a full-time employee after graduating.

What's the work like?

The work is very varied and you have the opportunity to get involved with a lot of different projects in great teams of people. Day-to-day I work with other people in the group on a range of jobs from designing in CAD, prototyping and testing, to analytical modelling and tolerance analyses.

What's the best thing about the job?

The work itself is great, but the most unique thing about Sagentia is the people. The office is friendly and social; it makes for a creative and comfortable work environment where everyone is up for a laugh.

There are a wide range of ages and experience, with a large group of young people in the first few years of their careers as well as those who have been in the industry for over thirty years.

The more experienced employees are really approachable, some have been at Sagentia for the entirety of their careers and others have come from large multinationals or other Cambridge consultancies. They are invaluable points of contact for their manufacturing knowledge and expertise in materials science and generally any problem you may come across.

From a social standpoint, Sagentia has a social committee that organises popular socials throughout the year including the summer and Christmas work parties, wine tastings, poker nights and Go ape adventure days. Along with the social side, working in teams with a high level of personal responsibility ensures a strong work ethic is upheld providing just the right balance between fun and hard work.

And the worst?

When you get involved in a big project, you might end up spending a while working in one particular area rather than benefitting from the range of work there is on offer. But that does create opportunities to specialise and learn a lot in the process.

What stand-out things have you had the opportunity to get got involved with?

I’ve had the opportunity to lead a mechanical team as part of a major battery-powered, handheld, surgical product development. It has involved a lot of responsibility and contact with the client and I’ve developed a lot as an engineer in the process.

I had an easy transition into the role, slowly taking on more and more responsibility before becoming technical lead. I’ve learnt how to interact with a client to effectively communicate a problem and to understand what they want as well as how best to deliver it to them.    

How would you describe life as a working engineer?

Full of variety, challenging, interesting and good fun. I’ve worked alongside biochemistry teams on the verification testing for a molecular diagnostic consumable and built prototypes of a low cost dialysis blood tube set.

I’m currently working on the detailed design and transfer to manufacture of a handheld surgical device. Each project has its challenges and you rarely know how to solve a problem from the outset. However, with each setback is the opportunity to learn something new, continuously broadening your technical skill set.

Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?

A company’s culture is as important as what they do. If you find a culture that suits you, it can make work all the more enjoyable.

What do you think you'll do next?

It’s early days! I plan to stay at Sagentia for a while to strengthen my technical background and experience of product development in a variety of sectors. I’d be interested in exploring a sales role in the future though.

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