Exciting engineering work experience for Yazmin

Over a week before half term, I had the amazing opportunity to spend time at a work experience placement at Jaguar’s largest Land Rover site in the country, in Gaydon in Warwickshire. Every year they run this program with over 400 applicants and only 30 of those will be successful. Over the week, I was able to gather a deeper understanding of the extensive work that goes into car manufacturing from the initial idea process to the final product driven on the road. Throughout our stay, we were separated into pairs and assigned to a mentor.

The placement focused on the different kinds of engineering required to produce a functioning car. On the first day, I was based in the software engineering department where I was with a team focused on ADAS systems- increasing the self-driveability functions of the car to reduce the stress on the driver. I saw how the software architect engineers directly tailored their program requirements based on the demand and suggestions of the customers. I visited their test facilities where they are able to mimic the actions of a car to trick a particular component into thinking it is in a functioning, moving vehicle to see how it would respond. It was interesting to see how the projects each team are working on seem so different but all contribute to the same final product, showing the complexity of a motor vehicle.

On the second day, I was based in the seat development department. This department is broader than I would have expected. There were all kinds of development, from the shape of the seat to the cooling systems. Even the minor details such as choosing the thickness or colour of the leather requires considerable thought. The test facilities were the most impressive of any other I had seen that week. Two robots worth £250,000 each were attached to a mannequin, simulating the movements of a person getting in and out of a seat 25,000 times to check for degradation and lifespan. They had different simulation programs depending on whether the seat was in the front row or second.

The next day I was stationed in the climate testing facilities. They have several chambers each able to mimic either windy, cold, sunny or humid conditions to investigate the durability of the engine, doors, windows and all other components. It was interesting to see how the data was collected over weeks of testing and how the teams went about discussing potential changes and improvements. It became clear that engineering was based on problem solving and looking for problems to fix rather than finding ways of hiding them.

Overall, the experience was an enlightening one, introducing me to many other paths of engineering I had never considered. Speaking to some of the employees I realised that there were many ways to get involved in engineering as no two people had the same experiences before working at Jaguar Land Rover. It solidified within me that engineering was a career path I wanted to explore further and that research had to be done on which specific field I wanted to be involved with as the options are so vast. I am thankful for the experience as I now have a clearer understanding of what working as an engineer entails and how fields and jobs within engineering are ever changing.

Report by Yazmin, L6