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Employee Story


Engineer – Project Director


James Toal joined the Expleo graduate programme in Dublin, Ireland in 2018. Since then it has been all go, from his four week induction in South Africa, to meeting his new team in Belfast. The friendships made on this journey have developed his network and encouraged collaboration on his client projects.

James reflects on the last year in this recent blog.

Never a dull moment on our graduate programme

If I had to describe the Expleo graduate programme in a single word, it would be: busy. Over the past 11 months I have not stopped learning and having fun, this was exactly the start I wanted to my new career as an automation engineer.

First up was a trip to Durban in South Africa for four weeks, where I was trained in Java, GIT, Selenium, Linux, Docker, Ranorex, SQL, Consultancy Skills and ICAgile during the week, and then relaxed at the weekends with my fellow graduates. Actually, that’s not quite true. It’s hard to switch off when you’re ziplining through the jungle or doing the world’s highest canyon swing.

Back in Belfast, I met my career coach and then began intensive training in Selenium, Java, Maven and Jenkins, as well as the current automation framework that’s in place at Expleo. Almost immediately, I began work on a real life project, using Azure Dev Ops to manage our repository, tasks and overall management. Within just two months, I was working on-site with one of our clients.

My first engagement was an international airline, where I was set the task of automating manual test scripts and reducing the time for a manual tester. It was hard work, but hugely rewarding to build relationships with my counterparts at the airline. Next, I worked with an international law firm, where I got the chance to work on a proof of concept for Eggplant AI, exploring how Artificial Intelligence can improve our automation testing processes further.

The social side never stopped. Here’s a few of the highlights: an eight ball pool night, ten pin bowling night, charity mud run and dragon boat race. I especially enjoyed our Christmas, summer and brand launch parties. I still found time to get involved in loads of great internal initiatives like the brand ambassador programme, lunch and learn, a day in the life of another employee, presenting to fellow graduates, and even arguing with them in a debating match!

I was asked to give a talk at the 2019 graduate intake day. My message was simple: just go for it. You will need to work hard but you will get an incredible experience in return. 

Find out about early careers at Expleo here.

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Robert Matthews

What is your name and your role and how long have you been working at Expleo?

This year I’m celebrating my 12th year at Expleo. I started my career at Expleo as a Quality Auditor contractor, and then was offered a Staff position in the Life Cycle Management team, where I became a Deputy Team Lead, after which there was another promotion opportunity to an Engineering Manager, and later I was able to join our Marine division where I currently work.

Where and how long did you serve in the armed forces?

I served in the Air Force just shy of 25 years. I started my career as an Aero Engines Mechanic. My first posting was at Brize Norton working on VC 10s, Tri Stars & Hercules Aircraft. Then I went on to a technician’s course and became a Junior Technician, and then progressed into a leadership position as a Sergeant. I left the Air Force as a Senior Non-commissioned Officer.  

Robert Mathews
Rob in 2022 post remembrance parade in his local village. Remembrance day is very important to serving and veterans of the forces as it gives a chance to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country

What challenges did you have after leaving the Armed Forces?

My main challenge was worrying about Job Security. My manager was very supportive when I was still a contractor at Expleo and he transferred me over from contractor to permanent staff. I remember the conversation I had with him about the opportunities for secure job security and promotion.

And he said: “At Expleo, opportunities are out there for you, so go and get them”. And he was right, there are plenty of opportunities at Expleo. You just have to seize them. And every time I saw an opportunity at Expleo, I just went for it. 

I transferred a lot of my skills over to Expleo. For instance, the aircraft and engine experience, experience in fault diagnosis, and more in-depth engineering project management and of course my leadership & Management Skills 

How did Expleo help you to transition into your civilian job?

I found it quite an easy transition, as there were a lot of ex-forces colleagues within Expleo when I joined, some of which I knew already. For those that didn’t have a military background they were equally as welcoming.

How do you feel Expleo allows you to use your expertise you gained during your service?

Expleo gave me the freedom to use my transferable skills that I gained in the Air Force. My manager and colleagues had an open mindset for my ideas. I could bring those ideas into the office and illustrate how they could be implemented within a business setting They very much welcomed my ideas about improvements, and there is always an open environment for sharing ideas and previous knowledge. I also completed an Expleo Leadership Management course, which differed to the one I had in the Air Force. Combining the two gave me a much more rounded leadership and management mindset.

How do you connect with other members of the Armed Forces Community at Expleo?

I participate in careers transition workshops supporting recruiters. When Ex-Forces are looking for a new career, I attend the workshops chatting to the Armed Forces community sharing my experience and what I have learned.

What advice would you give to other members of the Armed Forces Community who are planning to join Expleo?

Expleo has many different opportunities, whether it be leadership management, various jobs in engineering, project management etc. Don’t think that you don’t have the skill set to join Expleo. It is within you; you do have those skills and Expleo can bring out these skills in people.

To find out about exciting opportunities available, please complete the form below and attach your CV for consideration. If you do not see the country you are looking for in the list below, go back to the Home page and select the relevant country.