George Sleath

Choosing which discipline of engineering you want to study can be a scary decision, one that I certainly felt under prepared for. For starters, I didn’t know what each discipline really involved study and career wise, let alone whether that content was something I would enjoy. Engineering Design’s flexible program structure means everyone studies the same core units in first year before you are then able to pick a discipline to lean towards in second year (aero for me, but I was also able to take many of the mechanical engineering units in years 4 and 5 as part of this stream). By spreading out your degree decisions this way you have more time to learn about what each area involves, but more importantly whether their content really interests and inspires you.

I picked Engineering Design because of its flexibility and industry experience opportunities, in order to boost my employability. But retrospectively I now think industry experience offers a different benefit: seeing what goes on inside companies day to day and actually engaging in the tasks equips you with vastly improved knowledge for deciding where you want to work eventually. Add to this the small cohort (I don’t know a cohort of Engineering Design students that weren’t close friends by the end of their degree), and the dedicated, experienced tutors who would regularly go the extra mile, and you end up with a degree course which stands above the rest.

The staff work hard to ensure you get a summer placement at the end of first year, and similarly for the year in industry 12 months later. With places for these outside of this arranged, university route being highly competitive this is a phenomenal course advantage. I worked at GE Avionics in my first year summer and then the Manufacturing Technology Centre in my third year. The latter of these I would not have discovered without the university’s partner links, and had an immensely enjoyable time there being able to design, manufacture and test solutions for reducing the assembly costs of electric vehicle batteries.

During my final two years of study, I worked with Babcock and Mojo Maritime on a project to develop remotely operated underwater vehicles for installing tidal energy turbines. As well as applying the knowledge gained from my technical units, it was great having the opportunity to develop an innovative design solution to a real-world problem, working with a range of industrial partners.

Alongside my studies I played Hockey, went climbing with the Mountaineering Society, and was able to go trekking with the Expeditions Society inside the Arctic Circle. The city itself has a lot to offer too from funky festivals in the central parks, to the graffiti speckled skyline regularly visible from the city’s bumpy hills. My placement year led to my current engineering role at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, where I get to work with industrial robots performing next generation manufacturing processes. I’m regularly thinking on my feet making use of the technical, analytical and team working skills I gained on this degree program. It is difficult to reign in my enthusiasm for how much I would thoroughly recommend Engineering Design to anyone!

George Sleath (MEng, 2016), Manufacturing Engineer
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