Product Assurance Engineer (10113)

At SKAO, we’re coordinating a global effort to deliver the largest science facility on the planet. The SKA will be a next-generation radio telescope that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, it will be one observatory, operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, SKAO will soon join only a handful of other science infrastructures in becoming an intergovernmental organisation.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKA teams in Australia & South Africa and as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us

Product Assurance Engineer

An ideal role for candidates with experience in developing and implementing quality assurance plans on major capital projects, able to influence stakeholders to ensure customer requirements and applicable standards are met.

Job Location
UK with frequent international travel
Area / Department
Business Support function
Contract Type
Competitive salary with generous pension and leave benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

We are seeking to apppoint 2 Product Assurance Engineers. The Product Assurance (PA) team is made up of a small team of engineers in the Assurance Department of the SKAO. The team is responsible for the definition and implementation of the quality assurance and control activities for the MeerKAT Extension and SKA Projects. The MeerKAT Extension Project will construct and incorporate 20 radio dishes into the now operational MeerKAT telescope (currently consists of 64 radio dishes and it is a precursor to the SKA telescope). The Extended MeerKAT will be used to perform science program during the time leading up to the MeerKAT integration into the SKA telescope.

The PA team is led by the Product Assurance Manager. The Product Assurance Engineer will be responsible for the practical implementation of the quality assurance requirements of the SKA project, providing regular updates to the Product Assurance Manager and the project team. This requires regular contact with the contractors to review and evaluate their work outputs at the different stages of the contract to ensure that their solutions comply with requirements, applicable standards and regulations; enlisting the support of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as needed when carrying out these activities.  Thus, the Product Assurance Engineer plays a major role in assuring the quality of the delivered products and their subsequent integration into the SKA telescope system.

The PA required for the SKA will involve several challenges which are unique to research infrastructures; the successful candidate will be one who can rise to these challenges and overcome them to help deliver a world leading facility creating new insights into the workings of the Universe.

The successful candidate will be close to the works, which are mostly at contractors sites, the SKA test facilities and the telescope construction sites. Thus, there will be some travels to these facilities and sites located in different countries, including South Africa, Australia, China, Canada and European countries. Some duties may require extended stays of up to 3 months in site countries on occasion if this is possible within future visa parameters.

For the SKA contracts, the NEC4 contracting framework will be used. In all forms of NEC contract, the successful candidate will work with the SKA Project Managers and the different Contractors, and act as stated in the applicable NEC4 contracts.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

The main functions of this role include:

Quality Management System

  • Contribute to the development of each Statement of Work to ensure quality requirements are clearly specified in contracts
  • Review contractors’ quality policy statements and plans to enable the Project Managers to accept them
  • Monitor the implementation of the contractors’ quality plans
  • Work with Subject Matter Experts, Project Managers, and contractors to identify critical items and raise early warnings, and follow up with their resolution
  • Liaise with the Project Managers to ensure relevant disciplines – especially in specific risk areas – are available on the client side to support the quality assurance activities
  • Regularly report to the Project Managers and project team on the overall implementation of the contractors’ quality plans
  • Support the Product Assurance Manager in the arrangement and conduct of Quality Audits
  • Convene, attend and minute meetings including Early Warning meetings where related to product quality
  • Log Learning from Experience (LfE) for all activities and ensure they are embodied in entry criteria into all reviews
  • Maintain quality records that include contractor’s progress records including where applicable imagery

Tests and Inspections

  • Review contractor’s test and inspection plans
  • Clarify with the contractor those products which the scope states are to be tested or inspected before receiving and delivery to working areas
  • Ensure that off-site tests or inspections are passed before items are delivered
  • Identify and clarify with the contractors the standards to be applied in the manufacture, assembly, integration, inspection and test activities of the project
  • Carry out planned mandatory inspections to assess the manufacturing, assembly, integration, inspections and test operations that are performed by the contractors to ensure they comply with the quality requirements, applicable standards and regulations
  • Incorporate the considerations of SKA Safety Management in the scrutiny of test and inspection results
  • Monitor, witness and report on tests and inspections activities
  • Advise the Project Manager on the outputs of test and inspection activities that might affect payments and completion

Defect Notifications

  • Notify contractor of nonconformances and defects
  • Ensure all nonconformances are timely resolved in accordance with the agreed non-conformance management process
  • Ensure the Defects Register are up to date throughout the duration of the contract
  • Advise the Project Manager regarding the acceptance of defects and uncorrected defects
  • Issue Defects Certificate


Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The successful applicants for this role shall have:

  • Degree in manufacturing related engineering or related disciplines
  • Experience in carrying out quality assurance related activities on major capital projects (typically at least three years)
  • Demonstrable understanding of one or more of both mass production and bespoke manufacturing processes that pertain to electronic equipment, civil works, plant/machinery, large fabricated structures and distribution systems (power, data, fluids)
  • Experience of planning and carrying out of test and inspections on equipment and systems
  • Experience of safety management systems
  • Knowledge and implementation of ISO 9000 and 9001 (or demonstrated equivalence) in major capital projects
  • Strong willingness to develop and maintain own knowledge in the area of quality assurance and control
  • Ability to listen and communicate effectively, verbally and in writing
  • Able to influence and change behaviour of internal and external stakeholders
  • Self-motivated, proactive and flexible team player who is adaptable to change
  • Willingness to travel extensively including possible extended stays of up to 3 months in Australia and South Africa (subject to visa limitations)

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The ideal candidates would also have:

  • Knowledge of working in the space or research infrastructure (preferably astronomy) industries
  • Knowledge of the design and production of specialist scientific equipment such as cryogenics
  • Familiarity with EMI control techniques
  • Understanding of systems engineering processes and familiarity of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 standard
  • Understanding of agile software development processes
  • Quality Assurance certifications
  • Knowledge of NEC4 contracting
  • Knowledge and experience of Contract Event Management and Reporting (CEMAR) tool
  • Familiarity with major capital research infrastructure projects
  • Membership of, or eligibility for, membership of, recognised national or international organisations such as International Register of Certificated Auditors

Equal Opportunities Statement 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are at the core the SKA's agenda and we are committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or nationality. 
Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation welcomes and encourages female applicants.  
Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.