Matt spent a year working for Mira Showers, where he was tasked with improving the efficiency of one of their electric shower pumps. He gained a lot of new skills and experienced living away from home for the first time.
Matt is currently studying mechanical engineering at Southampton University. He wanted to get some work experience under his belt before heading there as he felt it would give his CV a competitive edge when it came to job seeking after graduation. He heard about The Year in Industry (YINI) scheme and went from there.
“YINI appeared to know what they were doing in terms of finding students placements and they have had lots of experience placing students,” he says. “Their promotional activity was the main reason I heard of them and decided to go with their organisation.
“They emphasise the fact that they maintain contact with the students whilst they are on placement and as you can imagine for a freshly graduated A level student, that security you have in your first real job really means a lot.”
YINI placed Matt with Mira Showers, where his work involved using computer-aided design (CAD) to design various components and assemblies.
“I had to make sure I was adhering to company rules on design so my work met the required standards,” he says. “I used computational fluid dynamics to simulate some scenarios which would have been hard to test. This was mainly used in my major project for the year where I was making a pump for a power shower more efficient with electricity by developing the impeller.”
Before he could begin work on the project, Matt had to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of pump theory and centrifugal pump design. This enabled him to study the existing design and pinpoint areas for improvement.
Once he decided to focus on the impeller he used CAD software to create designs and CFDesign software to analyse them. Initially he ensured correlation between analytical and actual performance by analysing and testing the current product. He then had prototypes of the best designs made which he used to test the performance of the pump.
Matt’s final design was over 25 per cent more efficient than the original which meant a smaller, less expensive motor could be used in the new product, providing Mira with some big savings.
Matt gained some great experience during his time with Mira - a high point included getting his first proper paycheck! The placement gave him the opportunity to live away from home for the first time as he relocated from Salisbury to Cheltenham and lived with four other placement students, plus he enjoyed the working atmosphere with his co-workers.
He did however find that the days were quite long and the work could sometimes get quite monotonous.
“I believe that I have become more independent and have learned valuable lessons from living on my own; for instance managing bills, keeping food properly and all the little things you don't really notice your mother does for you when you live at home,” he says. “An indirect thing to gain I guess but I guess I have become better at interacting with people since the placement too,” he adds.
“I have learned how to be a team player, and as an engineer, my problem solving skills have been improved. CAD is a very important tool in modern engineering so I am glad I have a good understanding of that now.”
Matt believes his time with Mira will really help him in his early career.
“The skills I have learned can be applied anywhere not just in the engineering sector and the work experience will certainly help me find a job after graduation,” he concludes.