- Name: Nashar Mohamed Sultan
- Course: Mechanical Engineering BSc(Hons)
- Placement role: Process improvement engineer intern
- Placement company: Voith Turbo
- Year: 2014/15
Why did you decide to do an industrial placement as part of your degree?
Doing an industrial placement was and has always been part of the targets I had set myself. I knew that in the upcoming years competition for graduate jobs would be high so I knew I had to prepare myself to stand out from the crowd. Having a degree in mechanical engineering is great; you learn a lot of in -epth theory on the subject and gain a lot of knowledge.
What was the process for getting a placement and what support did you get from the University?
The University helped prepare my CV and offered CV workshops. I sent my CV to the Placement Team as they gave feedback on ways to improve it and also forwarded it to the employers that were advertising jobs with the University. Searching for placements on careers websites yourself also helped.
I would suggest always check your emails because the Placements Team notifies you when a company/job is available.
If you secure interviews, you can arrange mock interviews with the Placement Teams where feedback is given to improve your interview techniques.
What does your placement role involve?
- Analysing and evaluating processes that take place in the organisation which is mainly the overhauling of road, rail and industrial products.
- Increasing efficiency and process times, and ultimately eliminating waste.
- Liaising with companies to acquire product information or assistance.
- Working on the shop floor on products such as bus gear boxes to find out possible process flaws, inefficient machinery/equipment, lack of team work within the service area, etc.
- Observing shop floor workers to analyse process flow.
- Creating method statements for making engineering changes or servicing a product.
- Using CAD software such as AutoDesk Inventor to design parts and assemblies.
- Creating schematic drawings, floor maps.
- Create assembly manuals for engineers.
How is your typical day – any specific projects were you involved with?
I was asked to go to Germany for a final drive project. These final drives were being built in the German headquarters for the new Italian Red Arrows train. Voith in Germany needed help with increased output so proposed Voith in UK to build some of the final drives.
My role was to analyse the assembly process in Voith Germany and document the process and create an assembly manual for the final drive engineers in Voith UK. It was a great experience, an eye opener, Voith in Germany was huge. It was everywhere, and that's when I realised how global Voith was.
What key elements of your job will involve what you had learned from your course?
Use of CAD to create parts and assemblies. Many project management techniques such as:
- cause and effect diagrams;
- value added process map;
- SIPOC diagram;
- efficiency calculations; and
- standard deviations.
From your experience working at your placement employer is there anything that you will utilise when you go back to your study (if this is applicable)?
- CAD skills.
- Data analysis and statistical skills.
- Communication skills.
- Report writing.
How do you feel that your placement has benefited your course?
It has made me realise that I am studying the right course, and that my options are very open and broad. Studying mechanical engineering gives you the flexibility to work in many different types of industries.
Are there any other benefits of doing a placement?
- You can make great connections and links with experienced engineers.
- Learn from experienced engineers.
- Being paid for gaining experience.
- Getting a taste of industrial work.
- Depending on the type of industry you are working in, you may be able to find a potential final-year project idea!
What job will you be seeking when you graduate?
Once I graduate, I will try to go back to Voith Turbo and apply for mechanical engineering roles in the company as I would be more qualified and also having that vital year experience with them. If I'm unable to go back to Voith I would be applying for graduate schemes for engineering roles in major companyies such as TFL, Delphi, Atkins and other major engineering companies.
What advice would you give to the students who are thinking of applying for placement?
- Maintain a good balance of studying and applying for the job applications.
- Apply very early. The more interviews you attend, the more confident you will become.
- Higher chance of getting a position.
- Do not apply to one and wait, apply to as many as you can but properly and do not rush.
- Set yourself a target of how many jobs you will be applying for, for example in a week, or the coming weekend.
- Do not get demotivated if you are unsuccessful, keep applying.
- Perfect your CV, attend CV workshops.