Tell us how did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unique career?

I decided to pursue an MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leicester as it is a renowned university and because of the opportunity it offered to undertake a work internship as part of my studies. We live in a competitive world so it is vital that we hold not only a degree but also have industrial experience in the same field. Although I had a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nagpur University, India along with relevant work experience, I felt it was time to take a step further and work towards a Masters degree. After extensive research on all the top colleges and universities in the UK, it was the particular degree offered by the University of Leicester that felt like the complete package to help me fulfil my aims. I am pleased with my decision as it has proved to be very fruitful.

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How was the experience at University of Leicester?

During my course, the University staff and departmental tutors have been extremely supportive in mentoring and helping me to achieve my goals. The dedicated Career Development Service (CDS) is open all year round to assist with applications, help with interviews and carry out CV health checks to ensure that we land our dream jobs. I registered with CDS through MyCareers to receive weekly mailshots of potential employers and used them extensively for personal advice on my applications which served me well when it came to the real thing. My personal tutor also gave me some helpful tips about how to stand out in my applications. Whilst I have always known that my career is in my own hands, I have been really fortunate because of the considerable help and advice that I received both from the department and the wider University.

I began placement seeking about half way through my course and registered with as many recruitment websites and agencies as I could. As a result I received numerous calls from potential employers and soon realised that many larger organizations weren’t flexible enough to accommodate students’ individual requirements. This is when I was advised by the University to consider opportunities within smaller firms as they can be a great stepping stone towards your career. I followed their advice and, after making a few applications, I was invited for an interview and I eventually landed a work placement. I am genuinely grateful for the guidance and coaching I received via the CDS which ultimately helped me achieve success.

Please tell us about your internship?

I am currently working on a nine-month placement as a Product Development Engineer at Base Group, developing and formulating new composite products. The role involves identifying preparation and manufacture processes for new products, testing their behaviour and properties, benchmarking them against products already in the market, and enhancing them in line with customer feedback. As a result, I have improved my ability to conduct effective scientific analysis and have gained an understanding of successful industrial product development.

After my placement, I have to finish my project in order to complete my degree and, following this, I hope to be involved in either a more challenging engineering role or studying for a PhD.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my entire experience to date. I would advise future students seeking a placement to start earlier than I did – perhaps October rather than January – and remind them that their success will largely depend on their own efforts. Investing time in refining your CV, polishing interview techniques and fully researching the industry will help you get onto the career ladder. In the midst of all this, of course, please also ensure that you do not neglect your studies!

Feedback regarding Jayesh from Dr Yves Didier-Carter, Technical Manager, Base Group Limited

basegroup.jpgBase Group Limited provides high value technical products and services to aid the manufacture of carbon fibre composite components. Our core activities are the manufacturing and supply of prototyping and modelling materials which are distributed globally across a variety of sectors including Formula 1, automotive, aerospace and maritime. Through our manufacturing and engineering capabilities, we provide clients with a tailored service that meets their specific prototype, modelling and tooling requirements. Base Group employs about 35 people, has a turnover of £5 million and has experienced growth in excess of 20% p.a. over the past five years.

Currently, Jayesh is working as a Product Development Engineer in a small technical team. Under my supervision his work covers two main areas. Firstly, he is involved in many of the technical aspects of our operations involving understanding, preparing and testing materials and their behaviour, and analysing these using various standard chemical tools and processes. Health and safety are very important aspects of our work so he has been given full training in this and he appreciates the importance of following instructions and procedures. Secondly, as a project manager he maintains records, monitors progress and ensures that processes are carried out in a timely and effective manner. Over the time he has been with us, I have gradually been able to delegate more responsibility to him as he has learnt more about both the technical and the process sides of the business.

We decided that we needed to take a placement student as the company’s technical operations have grown over the last year or so and we identified a need for a practical, scientific mind to join the team. We felt that taking on a placement student would be a cost-effective solution for the company and, at the same time, it would be beneficial to such a student in their studies and future career. Jayesh came across as a motivated and mature individual with a serious approach to his career development and we valued his clear commitment. Moreover, his academic background had involved modules on composites and this made him a strong applicant.

Jayesh has brought a technical and scientific approach to his work that has been hugely helpful to us. He understands about the importance of using correct and safe methodology for testing materials and products. He has a steady analytical approach ideally suited to the company’s way of working and he is happy to take on new technical challenges when they arise. His personal commitment to a career in this field is demonstrated in the quality of his work. The fact that he can do a full nine-month placement as part of his MSc also attracted us as this long period means that we can invest more time in his training and development and he has the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the company in return.

My advice to other companies considering taking on a placement student would be to think hard beforehand about what you want from them and plan how you will get the best from them. Most MSc students will be of a high standard but having a long-term project that they can really get their teeth into will ensure that their best qualities are brought out and allowed to flourish.