A degree from the University of Manchester’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering not only attracted employers, but played a major role in equipping me with practical engineering experiences; strong academia and challenging projects which helped me stand out from the crowd.
Graduation year: 2014
Current occupation: Graduate Mechatronic Engineer - Rail, Babcock International Group
Tell us about what you are doing right now...
I’m currently taking part in the Rail Graduate Development Scheme at Babcock International. This three year graduate rotational programme consists of a minimum of 6 rotations with the business. The rotations comprise of technical work, business development, project management, commercial analysis and one placement where we shadow one of the directors within the organization. Right now I am at the Crewe depot, where I am working in the rail signaling design office along with highly experienced IRSE certified designers. My current project is to design the electrical framework and all wiring diagrams for a rail level crossing located near Warrington.
The excitement of what each day can bring is something I really enjoy. The multi-disciplinary work experience and the opportunities to work with experts from various engineering and non-engineering backgrounds are truly intriguing. For example, one day I can be in the office, working on design. Another day, I will be on site walking alongside live railway lines, doing surveys. Occasionally I get to work on weekends when signalling and track renewal works take place. Once a month, for a couple of days I meet up with other graduates for a professional development training course that takes place in Manchester. The hands-on experience and being a part of multi-million pound projects have given me the courage me to take ownership and get the best experience out of everything I am involved in.
What route have you taken to get to your current position?
A steady focus coupled with passion to succeed has helped me overcome enormous obstacles and failures. It was hard work, but constant motivation from the university staff helped me stay motivated and confident. Apart from doing well in my exams, I made sure that I had fun during my time at university. I got involved in various volunteering activities, networking events, part time jobs, cultural and academic societies to develop relevant experience and soft skills that many employers look for within a graduate. I realised that work experience is a must before graduating in today’s highly competitive environment. With help and support from the school’s career advice team, I made sure that I did a yearlong industrial placement relevant to my degree. This was immensely helpful during graduate job applications and interviews.
Do you think your Manchester degree helped you to secure the job?
A degree from the University of Manchester’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering not only attracted employers, but played a major role in equipping me with practical engineering experiences; strong academia and challenging projects which helped me stand out from the crowd. The second year group project, which involved developing an autonomous line following robot, helped me develop expertise in sensors and gave me a broader understanding on motors profiles, gearbox, PIC microcontroller programming, mechanical chassis design, control systems, PCB design software along with cost analysis, safety constrains, innovation and other soft skills.
Third year individual projects are always challenging, but the level of complexity and immediate implication into industries makes sure that you have a product that has never been developed before. My “Capacitance Based Car Mist Clearing Sensor” project was selected as one of the highly commended projects and gave me the opportunity to attend the three day conference at the global Undergraduate Awards 2014 Summit held in Dublin. The project was selected amongst 5000 applicants over 26 countries. That is the level of expertise and knowledge one can develop at the University of Manchester.
What skills/knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
The blend of knowledge of electrical machines, electronics devices, mechanical systems, robotics and programming I gained at The University of Manchester gave me the confident that I can shine in any of these fields. A strong academic background in electronics and design has been particularly helpful from the technical aspect. Courses like Sustainable Development and Tools & Techniques for Enterprise have helped me understand complex business challenges faced by a global organisation like Babcock International.
What advice would you give to students applying for the same course that you took?
Mechatronic Engineering is a relatively modern course and rewards you with the opportunity to excel in integrating mechanical systems with smart electronics. With the global revolution of automation and technology, a degree in Mechatronic Engineering is exceptionally valuable in global industrial development. The University of Manchester’s outstanding student life, friendly environment, helpful staff along with solid teaching and learning facilities makes it one of the best universities to graduate from. You can be successful by just enjoying the course, gaining some experience and relishing every single day at the university.