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Principal Engineer
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

As a recent engineering graduate whose worked in the industry, I've recognised the importance of practical engineering skills for ones career development. Therefore, when I returned to higher education to do a PhD, I decided to also develop my practical engineering skills through placements to ensure that my skills are relevant and are on par with my theoretical expertise.

How did you find your placement/internship?

As a current PhD student, finding an engineering placement which has suitable working hours is challenging. To address the incompatible working hours, I've established an engineering firm (start-up) to enable me to develop my practical engineering skills whilst also working on my PhD.

Application process

Not Applicable - As the organisations founder, theres no application process for the role.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

Working on my organisation enables me to work with flexibility (around my academic timetable) and focus on projects which are of great personal interest.

Main responsibilities

The role required me to partake in the design, manufacturing and testing of an electromechanical prototype. To deliver this objective, I specified appropriate electrical parts, used CAD to design custom mechanical components, utilised additive manufacturing technique to fabricate the designs and carried out test procedures to validate the prototype. In addition to the design of the technical prototype, my role also required me to develop grant proposals for future projects requiring market research and project planning.

Typical day

In a typical day, my role as an engineer is divided between computer-based work designing components through CAD and programming the prototypes software. After initial designs are made, I then proceed to hands-on manufacturing of the prototypes which includes 3D printing and soldering of electrical components. Once a sub-system of the prototype is complete, I then proceed to test the prototype to ensure that its suitable for its application.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

My personal interest revolves around environmental and green technology. Since the organisation is also focussed on this field, it provides me the opportunity to work on matters that I am passionate about. Additionally, working on both theoretical and practical activities makes the role interesting because it provides an insight about different aspects of engineering.

Challenging aspects

As a start-up, the available resources in the organisation is limited and therefore makes the delivery of each tasks more challenging. However, I also view such challenge as an opportunity to be creative and develop new solutions.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Through my course I've developed a large set of skills which includes: CAD, electrical design, programming and prototyping. Such skills are invaluable during the placement as its transferable to many of my responsibilities. I also believe that such skills are crucial for my career development as its applicable to many engineering applications.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

My personal interest revolves around environmental and green technology. Therefore working on this placement have enabled me to cement my interest in this field.

As a result of your placement/internship, what are your next steps in planning what you want to do after graduation?

As a first year PhD student, I still have a couple years before my graduation. However, because of the placement, I've realised the importance of continuous work experience. As such, it would be my objective to continuously develop my skills that are crucial for engineers and pursue relevant work experience opportunities in the following years.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

To get the most out of the scheme, I recommend that future PREP applicants must identify their strength, weakness and personal interest prior to the programme. Additionally, its also crucial that future applicants evaluate the sponsor company's interest to ensure that it matches with their personal objectives. By observing this recommendation, I believe the PREP scheme can become more enjoyable, insightful and beneficial for all the parties involved.

Form completed: 03 Oct 2019

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