From UK apprentice to Australian secondment

Great opportunities at Smiths Detection to spread your wings

The global scale of Smiths Detection offers excellent career opportunities with the chance to travel both at home and abroad. Whether training at our facilities around the world or taking temporary or permanent positions overseas, Smiths Detection has a very ‘mobile’ culture.

Some recent relocations include engineers, scientists and financial specialists moving from the USA, Dubai and India to the UK; and from the UK and Dubai to Australia. Sam Ashby, a 27 year old Field Service Engineer, has just returned to the UK following a three month secondment in Melbourne and Adelaide. This is his story.

Gaining international experience

Sam joined the company in 2015 as an engineering apprentice and initially spent time learning about the various engineering departments. Having decided to focus on working in the field, he went on to qualify as a Field Service Engineer in 2018.

“After finishing school, I didn’t want to go to university and ended up trying out several different jobs – until I saw the Smiths Detection ad for an apprentice. I remember as a small boy that my grandad lived near the company and we often drove past. I told him I would work there one day and he replied I would be very lucky to get the opportunity – and he was right! I love my job. It’s flexible, no two days are the same and I have travelled a lot for work.”

In 2022, Sam saw there was an opening to go to Australia and jumped at the chance to spend three months on the other side of the world. “Within days, the company had made all the visa, travel and accommodation arrangements and I was on my way to support my Australian colleagues. I helped provide on the job training for new engineers and was also involved in system installation and maintenance. Everyone was extremely welcoming, we shared a lot of information and all worked very well together.”

Very quickly, the local team spotted Sam’s talent and offered him a permanent position in Australia. However, Sam felt at this stage in his career he would be better staying in the UK working at one of the country’s largest airports. Since returning home, Sam has gained a First Class Honour’s in the Bachelor’s Degree linked to his apprenticeship; and has also been promoted to Field Service Engineer Level 4.

“UK Airports are really is an exciting place to be as they’re often the first to take advantage of new systems and capabilities. Since moving back, I’ve taken on more responsibility. I think I’ve done well within the company and much of the credit goes to my co-workers and line managers for their continued support. I’ll keep working hard to progress within the organisation and I’m excited to find out what the future holds at Smiths Detection.

Continuous learning

Technology is, of course, constantly evolving which means on-going training and Sam has already attended courses in France and California and will soon go to Germany.

“Wherever I go, I love to explore, meet new people and experience different cultures. When attending any of the training courses, I can find myself working with people from all over the world. I thoroughly enjoy being part of the Service Team and continue to learn and gain knowledge every day.”


Sam’s travel tips:

“If the opportunity to travel comes up, I encourage everyone to grab it with both hands. I would definitely go overseas again and who knows, maybe one day I might get a permanent position abroad. By the way, if you are ever in Australia, I recommend visiting the Blue Mountains; and avoiding the spiders – a huge arachnid found its way into my car while I was driving! I didn’t know I could move so fast