“I'm proud of many of my achievements on placement, but I’m probably most proud of being able to blend into a multi-national company and communicate with a diverse range of people.”
"The opportunity to do a Professional Training placement was definitely a contributing factor in my decision to come to Surrey. Having researched the University online from my home in Zambia, I was impressed with the many links Surrey has with the mechanical engineering industry and the fact that it cares not just how students do academically but also about their future career prospects. The employability rates are consistently high.
I spent my Professional Training placement at the Ford Motor Company in the tool room within the manufacturing department. The process of finding the right placement taught me a lot. Although I had a number of rejections before landing the Ford placement, in retrospect things worked out perfectly and going through a rigorous selection process for a large multinational company gave me some really valuable experience.
Going on placement to Ford meant I got to live in London and learn a lot about myself. I had a high level of responsibility as the only engineer in the tool room team, which was mainly made up of machinists and other skilled workers. I was brought in because Ford wanted a fresh perspective on the way the department ran – someone with new ideas and a zeal for change. My role was to suggest and put in place new processes which would improve efficiency and ensure the smooth running of the department after I’d left.
While there, I overhauled the department’s quotation system, making it more efficient. I also created a tracking system for the production of parts which helped identify where the bottlenecks were and kept track of what was being produced, reducing overproduction and waste. In addition I created standardised process sheets which had to be both aligned to Ford’s global standards and adapted to the specific needs of the tool room.
"I created a tracking system for the production of parts which helped identify where the bottlenecks were and kept track of what was being produced, reducing overproduction and waste."
I’m proud of many of my achievements on placement – including winning ‘Team of the Month’ for my work with school children on work experience at Ford – but I’m probably most proud of being able to blend into a multi-national company and communicate with a diverse range of people.
My Professional Training placement has helped me to decide the direction I want to take in the future. During my time at Ford I was constantly looking for issues to solve, and I think that working for an engineering consultancy – where I get the chance to solve problems on a daily basis – would be my ideal job.
My advice to people applying to Surrey would definitely be to do a placement year. I’d also urge them to take on as many extracurricular activities as they have time for, in order to build up their CVs. I have been Vice-President of MechSoc, Treasurer of the University Futsal (indoor football) team, Team Leader for student mentoring and Brand Manager for Teach First (the biggest graduate recruiter in the UK) – and all these experiences have enriched my life here."