Oliver has been thrown right into the company from the very start of his placement, reflecting what life would be like in the industry after graduation.
“I’ve got a lot of daily responsibilities. They include fault finding to see where the problem lies whether it be software, electrical issues, design issues, mechanical issues, labelling issues - the list goes on.
“I’ve also got to record and report our findings for future use in case we have the same issue in the future to cut down on fault finding time, which is particularly important.
“I then file our report to the relevant department whether it be electrical, mechanical, or electrical/mechanical design. They can then clarify if it is correct to the design, then further do the paperwork to see if a change of design is required (Engineering Change Request ECR).
“Finally, I’ve got to report back via spreadsheet basically a progress report updating what works, what doesn’t, or what works but is not finished.”
Going on placement to EDM has allowed Oliver to learn new skills as well as develop the abilities he’s already acquired from his studies at UCLan. This is crucial, according to Oliver, in terms of being able to show that students can cut it in the industry following graduation.
“The challenge of learning about different parts of electronic engineering while using parts of my own knowledge from my course is bringing it all together for a clearer understanding i.e. using examples I have only been told about and using them.
“Having industry experience is absolutely vital. If I was to hire someone fresh from university, I would be more inclined to hire someone with experience as they have a better understanding of how to work within a company instead of being shown everything about how to function within a company. Keeping that in mind, said person should be able to fit in quicker within the company so the company reaps the rewards quicker.
“Bearing in mind I am only half way through my degree as I’m on the master’s course not the bachelors so have only experienced half of what my course has to offer. I feel that the first two years’ worth of modules have been 100% relevant to my time at my placement.”
When asked about his advice for current and future UCLan students about going out on placement, Oliver didn’t hold back with his views.
“If you’re in any doubt about placements, do it! It gives you an idea of being in the industry you have chosen to be a part of. You can make sure it is right for you and gives you an idea of what area within that industry you enjoy, what you don’t like and where the most money is made. That way you can focus your time learning and honing the skills required for that chosen area while the facilities are still available while you are a student.
“Apply anywhere and everywhere. Big companies, small companies, go to engineering expos with CVs and hand them in. It’s very hard to get one as there are so many students out there wanting placements. I was very lucky to get one in many ways, as most companies I applied to online and via CV didn’t give me any contact back whatsoever even after emailing and calling the numbers I was referred to.
“Most importantly do not give up until you have one even if it’s after you graduate - graduate internships are available out there. It will come down to you in the end grinding those application forms out to every company you can.”