One of the main decisions that influenced me studying Automotive Engineering at Loughborough was due to Loughborough’s course having specific automotive modules taught from year one of study. Other automotive courses would only specialise in automotive in the final year. Therefore, Loughborough would allow me to develop my automotive knowledge as much as possible over the course to equip me for a career in the automotive industry once graduated. This, combined with the facilities available, and the links the university has with industry leaders, made it my preferred choice to make the most out of an engineering degree.
Loughborough’s Careers Network have been invaluable in helping me tailor my applications and showcase my skills to applications for employers with different workshops and one-to-one sessions on my CV and cover letters. They have allowed me to demonstrate myself as employable as I can with the relevant skills and experiences I possessed. The support they offered was one of the factors in my success of gaining a placement year within the industry.
Lecturers are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the content they teach, which can include setting up one-to-one contact sessions or through email feedback. There was little pressure felt in asking for help if there was something you did not understand from a lecture or tutorial. There are also additional support groups such as the Maths Learning Support Centre, where academics offer support in different math problems you may have, with someone almost always available for you to drop by and get help and guidance on a problem.
The different links the university have with industry, the high standard of teaching that is provided and the advice the careers team offer will allow me to progress with such career. Many companies seek students directly from Loughborough due to the quality of the course and teaching you are given here, with previous graduates taking up engaging positions at this exciting time for the automotive industry.
Different industrial talks that are put on by the Careers Network and the three annual careers fairs that take place on campus allow you to become inspired and engage with employers of your chosen industry, along with understanding other industries. Inspiring you to do your best in your degree and look forward to the opportunities available after your degree.
My placement year was the greatest achievement for me, particularly as I was part of the research and development operations at a top automotive manufacturer. I was able to experience first-hand the automotive industry and get involved, adding my input to the development of, at the time, a future production vehicle. This will be something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had not applied for this course.
There are a range of facilities that benefit automotive modules taught within the department, that allow a greater depth of understanding and visualisation to the modules content. An example of this can be seen from visualising taught content by using the different wind tunnels available for modules such as Ground Vehicle Aerodynamics, which are also used as part of the coursework assessment. Almost every module will have some form of practical learning element which utilise one of the facilities at the university from the engine test cell laboratories to the CAD labs.
In the first year of study there are multiple industry experts from different automotive companies that come and talk about their work, which was interesting to hear and motivational when considering what a career in the automotive industry can lead to.
The different group projects you get involved with across the course have been enjoyable and allow a good opportunity to collaborate ideas. Engineering is often very much team based in order to solve different problems and allow different ideas to be put into the mix, and to enable greater thinking to the problem that has to be solved to create a successful outcome. Throughout the course there are multiple group projects you undertake in different modules. Not only does this improve your technical knowledge, but it also allows you to greater develop your soft skills.
In the third year of study, you have a week at the MIRA vehicle proving ground, allowing you to experience different tests that can be conducted in industry from drive-by-noise tests to straight line performance tests. This provides you with experience of vehicle testing and an understanding of the processes that are used to evaluate different data, that you can acquire from real-world testing.
My placement year was spent working at Nissan’s European Technical centre based in Bedfordshire in the Marketability, Customer Oriented Engineering department. This role primarily was focused on static and dynamic prototype vehicle evaluation, to ensure the vehicle met project targets and customer expectations, and also involved conducting benchmark activities to ensure product competitiveness within its segment. This was an exciting experience to understand and enabled me to get involved with operations of automotive product development, adding my input to vehicles of the future while still in my studies.
For your final year project, it is also good to have face-to-face sessions throughout both semesters with your academic supervisor in their field of expertise, which in my case was undertaking a project I had no previous experience or study in. This enabled me to understand fundamentals and build upon knowledge of the subject area to produce interesting project objectives and research.
My career ambitions are to secure a graduate role in automotive research and development with an automotive manufacturer; allowing me to add my input to the vehicles of tomorrow when the industry is at such a changing point due to increased sustainability, electrification and connectivity. Technical, analytical and transferable skills I have acquired from the different modules including practical aspects of this course, and the workplace through my placement year should allow me to have a successful application from what I have gained at university.