An industry placement with Cummins Power Generation gave undergraduate Samuel a more focused career direction as well as the opportunity to become professionally registered as an Engineering Technician (EngTech).
“After being on placement, power and energy is my new favoured industry,” he says. “This MSc is a one year full time course which should hopefully put me in good stead for obtaining a highly satisfying job within the sector this time next year!”
This autumn Samuel will begin to study towards his MSc in energy systems and thermal processes at Cranfield University, having completed his BEng (Hons) in aerospace engineering at the University of Hertfordshire.
Thanks to his own experiences, Samuel is keen to promote sandwich courses, as 14 months working as an energy systems engineer at Cummins Power Generation in Kent led to a more focused career plan as well as professional registration.
Samuel has always felt himself to be more talented at mathematical and science subjects, which made it easy for him to choose A levels in maths, physics and chemistry.
“Being good at these subjects, I suppose the more popular areas of employment would be finance or engineering. After completing two weeks work experience as an accountant’s assistant at the age of 15 I knew finance wasn’t for me.
“I enjoyed the maths, but there was no real fascination or interest in the subject, therefore engineering sort of just fell into place. After completing my degree I’m so happy I chose this as my career path, as I fully enjoy almost every piece of work I do,” he enthuses.
Samuel feels he gained a huge amount from his time at Cummins: “a testament to my manager who busted a gut to provide the best experience for me as possible, for which I will always be in his debt,” he says,
His primary tasks at work were to design, test, analyse and conclude the analysis of efficiency improvement technologies on the electrical power generating set. Working in a small R&D team, he experienced all stages of the development of a new product. As well as this, he was heavily involved in planning new systems to improve the energy use of Cummins’ large manufacturing.
The company is also close to its local community, so Samuel was also able to get involved in an eight month project with a local school, as part of the Engineering Education Scheme (EES), to reduce its carbon footprint.
“I led four A level students to a huge success at the EES achievement day. The students gained a huge deal out of it, but I seriously feel that I gained more from this project myself,” he says. “This placement opened a whole new area of engineering to me: the energy sector.
“I love the speed of the industry. Obviously there are huge problems humanity has to solve with regards to our energy sources in coming years. This motivates and excites me. Without the vast amount of skills and experiences I gained on this placement I know I wouldn’t have been able to obtain a place on the MSc at Cranfield, therefore it was probably the most important year of my life in regards to my career,” he notes.
Samuel wasn’t aware that he might be able to gain professional registration until his placement was already underway, but it was great news as he’d always been focused on becoming professionally registered, and working towards Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.
“I must credit this to Dr Andrew Lewis, the head placement tutor at the University of Hertfordshire. He obviously realised that students on placement may have the required experience to obtain professional registration at EngTech level and asked us if we’d be interested in applying,” he says.
The process started with the IET visiting the university at the start of Samuel’s final year.
“We sat down as groups of students with a senior member of the IET and discussed our experiences and skills and were then given advice whether it was worth applying for EngTech.
“It was a simple process to actually achieve EngTech as the hard work was already done - that being actually gaining experience within an engineering field. I filled out an application form, which required describing skills you have and giving examples of when you have demonstrated that you have the necessary skills. As well as this, proof of academic qualifications had to be proven - for me this was A level standard,” he says.
“I can say that I owe the ease of the application process to the experience given to me by Cummins. They gave me the opportunity to work on so many projects and use such a wide range of skills that I satisfied the criteria well.
“It has been my aspiration to become a Chartered Engineer since day one of my engineering degree, therefore professional registration has been something I constantly think about,” he continues.
“To obtain the first step on the professional registration ladder at such an early stage in my career is fantastic. It gives me another qualification that a competitor in the interview process may not have, and as we know, in this day and age that could be paramount in securing a job or a place in study.
“As well as the professional side of obtaining professional registration, personally it is very satisfying to know you are working at a high standard and it is being recognised by the large engineering institutions,” he concludes.