Placement Students Profiles
Cameron Johnson, BEng Mechanical Engineering on placement at Rolls-Royce
"My time at Rolls-Royce has been absolutely fantastic, I've learnt so much, including networking skills and how to deal with senior people - you really have to think about what you say before you open your mouth!"
I work for the measurement team and, although we don't really have a typical day, I start my by prioritising my workload, then I'll progressively work through dealing with the most important issues first. My workmates in the measurement team are all great blokes, it's a serious job, but we can still have a laugh at times. My workmates are always helping me to develop my learning and pushing me to go that little bit further.
During my placement I've been fortunate enough to undertake my NPL (National Physics Laboratory) training in metrology. I've also done various other courses which have helped to improve my understanding of manufacturing engineering.
At university you learn all the technical stuff and the theory behind everything, but when you come to work for a company like Rolls-Royce you really have to put the theory into practice. I've been on the shop-floor and all of a sudden the drawing I was looking at earlier is now a component right in front of you.
Work-experience is a very important thing and any sort of work-experience is good for careerer prospects. It teaches you how to work as a team-player and helps your communication skills. My time at Rolls-Royce has been absolutely fantastic, I've learnt so much including networking skills and how to deal with senior people - you really have to think about what you say before you open your mouth! I also get to wear my Rolls-Royce shirt which my friends think is great!
Sara Jane-Tonks, BEng Mechanical Engineering on placement at Nissan
Sarah spoke to us about her industrial work placement at Nissan, and how she secured a graduate position at Cummins Turbo Technologies.
"I learnt a lot about communication in a global environment and it gave me an insight into how engineering works in industry... Since my placement at Nissan, I have gone on to secure a position with Cummins Turbo Technologies."
I was selected for an industrial placement at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe, in Milton Keynes. I worked as a project management engineer for the Nissan Qashqai – the fastest selling model in the history of Nissan Europe.
My experience at Nissan helped me understand where my knowledge and experience as a student fits in to a global company; sometimes the most elegant engineering solutions won't work in a competitive market, and there's nothing more competitive than the automotive industry right now. Those things give you an appreciation of those sorts of problems and how to solve them.
I was given projects with real time-frames and expected to deliver the same level of results as everyone else. I learnt a lot about communication in a global environment and it gave me an insight into how engineering works in industry. I organised the testing of Around View Monitor, a parking assist system, which gives the driver a bird's-eye view of the car when parking. I saw it right the way through to production. Now around 300 Qashqai cars roll off the production line each day with this system. Since my placement at Nissan, I have gone on to secure a position with Cummins Turbo Technologies.
Mercy Smith BEng Chemical Engineering student on placement at OSL Consulting
"My experience out in Industry has been both challenging and amazing. It has opened my eyes to what to expect once I am out of University."
My experience out in Industry has been both challenging and amazing. I have been involved in a wide range of projects, working from Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to Operational Projects. The placement has opened my eyes to what to expect once I am out of University.
I have developed my communication skills and my confidence. My knowledge of the simulation software UniSim (similar to ASPEN) has improved greatly. I have developed my knowledge on Microsoft packages such as Excel but most importantly I have gained experience of how to work within a team.
It is such an exciting feeling when you know that a suggestion or request you made has been approved and it's being implemented on site. For instance, I had to come up with a new scheme that removed water from gas prior to it entering the national pipeline system, as the analysers were showing poor readings. I proposed an ideal location for the analysers, provided mark ups of the design so the client could see the changes. They then approved my design and it was then implemented on site! Very exciting.
I would recommend taking a year out to work in Industry to upcoming students. You learn a lot from your company and also it's a year off Uni exams! I have also been offered a graduate position with OSL!
Kinga Pasko BEng Medical Engineering student on placement at De Puy
"The placement involved new product development of total knee replacement prostheses and surgical instruments. It has been a fantastic opportunity to work in a dynamic and innovative environment and to network with professionals."
I completed the industrial placement after finishing the second year of my Medical Engineering degree. For 14 months I have been working as a student bioengineer in the research and development department at DePuy Synthes (former DePuy Orthopaedics).
The placement involved new product development of total knee replacement prostheses and surgical instruments. Over the course of my placement, I have worked closely with other bioengineers and designers as well as people from across a variety of internal departments such as manufacturing, testing, marketing and regulatory, as well as external vendors and customers.
I have been involved in several projects which gave me opportunities to put my knowledge and skills into practice, as well as to develop and improve other skills including communication, presentation, time and project management and working under pressure. More importantly, it has been a fantastic opportunity to work in a dynamic and innovative environment and to network with professionals. The variety of projects I have been working on has broadened my knowledge of the product development process in the very competitive and highly regulated medical device industry. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at DePuy – it gave me a great confidence boost on my return to University, and it has definitely been a turning point of my degree.
Since completing my industrial placement, I have graduated from Bradford University and I am currently pursuing a PhD in Medical and Biological Engineering at the Institute of Medical and Biological and Engineering at Leeds University.
Umar Saleem BEng Civil Engineering student on placement at J N Bentley
"I was involved in all aspects of the project, from initial designs to practical and immediate choices being made on site. Graduates with experience are highly sought after by employers, and for good reason."
As a student you're always told of the importance of a placement year, but until you actually take the year out and work in an industry related to your degree, you never fully appreciate the value of a placement.
I now appreciate why such emphasis was placed on the experience. Having a year's experience puts you a tier above the thousands searching for graduate jobs. Graduates with experience are highly sought after by employers, and for good reason. The work you do in industry can't be learned in a lecture theatre, it has to be done through interaction with people within a company.
My placement was with JN Bentley – a leading construction services provider – working on schemes delivered as design-and-construction company MMB, a joint venture between Mott MacDonald (traditionally a management and development engineering consultancy) and JN Bentley. Working as an engineer with MMB, I was thrown in the deep end by being given a project to lead, with the help of colleagues. I was involved in all aspects of the project from initial designs to practical and immediate choices being made on site.
Working as an engineer requires a very broad range of skills, from having the confidence to decide how to start a job on site to explaining to a client how the plans you've drawn best meet their needs. I believe these skills I've gained from the past year have increased the prospects of my future career in a major way.
Jan Goodrich BEng Automotive Design on placement at Denfords
"...I was given time to learn and the people were very patient and really helped me to develop my new skills. I would recommend doing a placement, it's essential for learning skills which will be useful after graduating."
Denford Ltd specialise in the manufacturing of CNC machines such as lathes and routers. They also re-sell 3D printers and laser cutters. I expected to develop a variety of new skills specifically related to my degree which would help me during my final year, and when I start my career.
The CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills I had previously learnt at university proved to be very important and helped me in terms of being able to design things to be manufactured.
I developed a whole range of new skills such as technical ability, being able to work in a team, management skills — I was involved in public events and exhibitions like The Big Bang Show and The Gadget Show Live, which involved a lot of team work and dealing with the general public.
Janis Kolovskis BEng Electrical and Telecommunications student on placement at Jaguar Landrover
"Once you learn how to take responsibility for yourself and your work, you become valued and respected as an engineer. I have been a key member in ensuring compliance with the Brazilian Stolen Vehicle Tracking legislation..."
The placement at Jaguar Land Rover has been the most valuable life lesson I have ever had. It is completely unlike the experience at university – there is no one to watch over your every step. Once you learn how to take responsibility for yourself and your work, you start to get valued and respected as an engineer.
Working in the Telematics division of Jaguar Land Rover, I had the amazing opportunity to work in a new field of technology and to be involved in the design of the future standard equipment of vehicles.
Aside from the unique experience I gained while working on the Telematics system, I also had the chance to work alongside our suppliers in Sweden, and have been a key member in ensuring compliance with the Brazilian Stolen Vehicle Tracking legislation, the responsibility of the job being measured in millions of pounds in sales.
Being able to work reliably when faced with such risks is an important skill. Students who successfully complete a placement will have a huge advantage over other university graduates, and a better understanding of both engineering and business side of life. A placement for an engineer is a must-have, I recommend it to everyone who has aspirations for a better and more interesting future life. I sincerely recommend doing a placement at JLR.
Simabarashe Chiweshe BEng Electrical and Electronics student on placement at Arup
"The School supported me by helping me every step of the way to secure an Industrial Placement. After I completed my placement with Arup they offered me a job! I was valued as a qualified engineer and it was such an honour working on a high profile project."
One of the highlights of my placement were being exposed to the real world of practical engineering which helped me to develop myself professionally. I was valued as a qualified engineer and it was such an honour working on a high profile project. I received good recommendations from my manager who was happy to welcome me back on a graduate programme upon the completion of my MEng, which was great news!
The international presence at Bradford is one thing that attracted me to the University and the main campus is located just a walk away from the city centre. I chose the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Course because I have always had an interest in mathematics and physics and found that the course combined the two disciplines. My course is so practical and has loads of lab sessions which make the course interesting and more understandable. The range of subjects my course covers is something I appreciate, as it gives me an opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of industries, whether it be consumer electronics, telecommunications, high voltage, manufacturing, etc. The school has supported me by helping me every step of the way in preparing and securing a placement. Helping me to prepare for the interview process, compile professional CVs and Cover letters also helped to boost my confidence and made me more prepared for the screening process.
Working in a multi-disciplinary group of engineers, achieving common goals, was eye opening as I developed skills to adapt to changes and accommodate other department's needs without compromising the quality of the overall design. I also had the opportunity to use modelling and simulation software and go on courses that were paid for by the company. The work included light modelling, simulations, calculations and co-ordination meetings. In addition I also did drawings, 2D CAD using programmes such as DIALux, AutoDesk, Revit, Excel, Etap, etc. I would advise getting a placement whether it's a one year placement or a summer placement. It will improve your CV and greatly increase your chances of securing employment.
Quinn D'Sa BEng Chemical Engineering student on placement at Amec
"The experience that I have gained at AMEC has opened my eyes to the challenges engineers face in industry and how chemical engineers can make a difference in our everyday lives."
After one full year on placement at AMEC I can proudly say that I am grateful and thankful to be given an opportunity to go to industry, to meet professionals, gain hands-on experience and most of all have a better understanding of what process/chemical engineering is truly all about.
Today, I can leave AMEC with pride knowing that the company has been supportive and my one year placement has been highly valuable. The experience that I have gained at AMEC has opened my eyes to the challenges engineers face in industry and how chemical engineers can make a difference in our everyday lives.
Finally, I would like to conclude that the experience that I have acquired from my one-year placement has motivated me to do better at university and to pursue a career in chemical engineering.
Andrew Inglehearn BEng Product Design student on placement at Flights of Fancy Creative Play
"It's probably been the best experience I could have hoped for regarding real work-experience in my final year especially - and for the real world."
Over the past year I've been doing a placement at a company called "Flights of Fancy Creative Play. They build play-houses, play-equipment, pirate ships - basically any type of play equipment you can think of. It's also some of the biggest and most extravagant that, certainly, I've ever seen.
The University of Bradford's Career and Employability Services play an important part in helping students to gain a placement year and to support them throughout their year in industry. See the Career and Employability Services website for more information.