Richard, 27, Project Engineer

What do you do?

I am a project engineer for an automotive company. My primary responsibility is based around the electrical side of an engine, integrating system software. I identify and ensure any engineering problems are resolved in order for vehicles to be delivered legally and safety before their deadlines.

Why engineering?

By age 16 (after my GCSEs), I knew I was passionate about music and cars. I spoke to my dad about it and being a typical African parent, he told me to forget about music and focus on cars. Due to this, I decided to take the engineering route and picked A Levels which would help me pursue this career path.

Did you forget about music?

No, I’m still really into music. I used to DJ a lot but a little less frequently now.

What do you like most about your job (and least)?

My favourite part of my job is being able to drive fast/luxury cars. Also, seeing a project from conception to completion is always a satisfying feeling as the projects I work on take a minimum of a year to complete. Finally, some suppliers and testing facilities are based abroad meaning my job involves a bit of travel which I love.

My least favourite part of my job has to be keeping up with current and developing engineering trends. These changes can be internal or external and can affect a project at any given time which means I am constantly kept on my toes.

Did you go to university?

Yes, I studied Automotive systems design.

Did you get your job straight out of university?

No. I had applied for jobs during my final year of university and was rejected due to a lack of experience. I decided to complete a Masters in Automotive Systems and this played a huge part in helping me gain the relevant experience I needed for the automotive industry.

If you could go back in time, would you have gone to university?

Yes. University was an amazing experience and I fully came into my own especially during my masters. The experience I gained was exceptional and it was during this time that I set up a race team for my university which boasted my CV. 

How long is your commute to work?

My commute is around 15 minutes by bike.

Any advice for someone currently on a job hunt?

I have two key pieces of advice:

1) Be proactive in your search for a job. The job I have now wasn’t advertised. I went through a lot to get where I am now by learning how not to take rejection to heart. Once I completed my master’s degree, I researched the automotive industry thoroughly and emailed 5 companies a day. I was consistent and persistent – I began my daily emails in July until the end of September. It was by no means an easy process but it worked. 

2) Do not limit yourself! I moved to the North West of England because of my current role despite being born and bred in London. However, I knew if I really wanted to get into the automotive industry, I would have to move as most of the automotive plants I applied for were based outside London. By not limiting myself, I managed to find a job I love, meet amazing people and experience a whole new environment. 

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