Mini-fair opens students’ eyes to the benefits of smaller companies
The first Mechanical Engineering Sciences Mini-Fair for SMEs, which took place on 30 January, was a great platform for smaller engineering companies to engage with students.
Around 60 students attended the event, which was designed to enable SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) across the South East to showcase their businesses and encourage current students to consider them when looking for placements or graduate jobs.
The companies exhibiting at the careers fair were Gordon Murray Design, Intecsea, 2H Offshore Engineering Ltd, ANSYS, GTR Composites, SubSea 7 and Fitzpatrick Referrals.
With students often focusing on well-known national and multi-national organisations when they look for Professional Training placements and graduate roles, the event was an excellent opportunity for them to learn about the varied opportunities offered by smaller engineering companies.
"When you are just starting out, you want to gain as much experience as possible, and I think that smaller companies tend to be able to offer a bigger range of experience than larger ones."
Alex Woollen, Chassis Engineer at Gordon Murray Design, said: “We have good ties with the University of Surrey and have taken on a number of students over the last five or six years. When you are just starting out, you want to gain as much experience as possible, and I think that smaller companies tend to be able to offer a bigger range of experience than larger ones. You get a lot of responsibility on a diverse range of projects and your presence is really felt.”
The mini-fair was organised by Dr Mark Baker, Senior Tutor for Professional Training in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. He said: “This was the first time we have staged the mini-fair and we were very encouraged to see a constant stream of students visiting the exhibitors’ stands throughout the event. The employers were very pleased with the interest shown by students at all stages of their degree, whether they were looking for placements, graduate roles or general information.
“All in all, the mini-fair was a resounding success and we plan to run it again next year, possibly expanding the event to include other companies and student disciplines across the whole engineering sector.”
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