MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering with Industrial Placement, 2018
Graduate Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
I'm currently on the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) graduate scheme. My official job title is Graduate Engineer, however my main department is the Vehicle Integration Team.
As a Vehicle Engineering Graduate at JLR my role involves taking multiple placements in various teams across the company. I also have a “home team” which is the team I’m expected to join as a permanent member of staff once I complete the graduate scheme. My home team is the Vehicle Integration team for future JLR cars. Within that team I work on the Systems Integration side of things.
This involves working with other departments such as Chassis Engineering, Body Engineering and Electrical Engineering to ensure that the various vehicle systems and strategies can actually work together within the car. It also involves ensuring the technical strategies from these other teams are in line with the performance targets we’ve set for the vehicle platform.
During the graduate scheme I’ve also had placements in Plant Launch and Manufacturing. My launch placement involved supporting the prototype building phase for the F-Pace Jaguar and the Velar Range Rover. My manufacturing placement was with the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Facilities team and involved the design, manufacturing and installation of new equipment and facilities that will be used to build future JLR cars.
What is the best thing about what you’re doing now?
The best thing about my job is definitely having the access to contribute to the design and development of cars that will be released in the next couple of years. The automotive industry is currently going through a lot of changes with regards to electric vehicles and automated driving, and being able to contribute to the development of these technologies is definitely the best thing about my current role.
What motivates you?
My biggest motivation so far has been my desire to properly utilise my degree. I worked very hard during the 5 years I spent at UoB (and the secondary school and Foundation Years leading to that) and so it is very important to me that I do something tangible with the degree I obtained as a result of my hard work. My interest in how cars are built and manufactured has also helped keep me motivated so far. Another major motivation for me is my desire to see more black female engineers like myself working across the different engineering industries. I’m aware that representation matters, and so I remind myself that the work I’m doing could motivate another black girl to study and work as an engineer.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
I originally applied to UoB because it's a Russell Group University. My research also showed the Mechanical Engineering Department was one of the best in the UK. Additionally, I was aware of their collaboration with engineering companies and I figured it could provide a good platform for me to network and eventually secure myself a job after graduation.
What are your fondest memories of the university?
My fondest memories of the uni are those of me spending time with my friends. Especially after exams when you don’t have to worry about deadlines (except result day, of course)!
How did you grow as a person by coming to university?
As an international student originally from Nigeria, my level of independence really improved at the University. I got into UoB at age 16 and graduated at age 21 so I believe I really came into my own there. It was a great way for me to discover a lot of things about myself. I had access to so many people from different backgrounds that I was able to gain knowledge and experiences from and with. I also did an Industrial Placement Year which further improved my independence and self-confidence. I’m very proud of how I navigated and managed my years at Birmingham and I think the opportunity to have done so independently is partly responsible for how I’ve managed to cope with “the real world” so far.
What did you think of the learning experiences within the Uni?
I quite enjoyed my learning experience. I found the lecturers quite approachable, which is always useful. The course was not strictly theory based so we had design projects as well as laboratory sessions. There was also a bit of coding involved. So in all I think it was quite diverse, and I was able to gain a lot from it. Also the library is really good; I needed a specific reference book for my Final Year Project, and UoB was one of only few universities that actually had a physical copy available. That made my life so much easier, and I honestly would have struggled to finish my project if I didn’t have access to that book.
What inspired you most during your time as a student?
The people I was surrounded by at uni were really great sources of inspiration for me. My friends were all really hardworking, and they all had ambitious and practical goals they were working towards. It makes it so much easier to stay motivated when the people you spend time with have the same type of energy and zeal as you.
“My biggest advice would be to get involved. This is something I wish I did more of while I was at university. Join that society, volunteer for that role, do that year abroad, apply for that internship, and apply for that Undergraduate of the Year Award! These things all build character and skills that you’ll have with you for a long time. Also, you don’t want to graduate and have all your memories involve revising in the library. Make the most of those 3-5 years because you’ll probably not get another chance to be in such a setting.”