Whilst on his placement at Network Rail, Joel had the opportunity to pitch his team’s air pollution solution concept to the CEO.
He worked on the DICE initiative (Digital Innovation & Collaboration in Engineering). In this competition, apprenticeship and placement students can develop digital solutions to existing railway problems, turning these solutions into actual business cases. Joel (Team Leader) and his group worked on a digital solution to capture polluted air and identify how the captured pollutants could be turned into a usable resource. They travelled around the country researching the problem, and after they had pitched their solution to Network Rail’s CEO, they were commended for their outstanding achievement and won some awards.
Joel, who’s still on his placement at the time of writing, works in Network Rail’s ‘Digital Factory’ - a team responsibly for rapidly solving tech-related problems in the railway industry. He works as a Full Stack Software Engineer, and his typical day can include:
- Delivering clickable prototypes to conduct user testing
- Gathering feedback from end-users about current systems
- Generally improving the technical side of Network Rail
"Working on real-life projects gave me a great understanding of what it’s like to work in the industry. I learnt how to use great tools like AWS, Mongo DB, Redhat openshift, and pair programming. I now understand what it’s like to work as a Full Stack Software Engineer."
Having completed his six-month probation period, Network Rail has offered Joel a Graduate Role because of his excellent work ethic. This means that Joel will be leaving UCLan with a lined-up job.
When asked about why he chose to study at UCLan, Joel said that he was impressed with the placement offering at the University. We work with a range of employers, from the large tech giants like Amazon and Google, to smaller and more niche companies. This means that our students can gain experience in various areas. Before he sought help from our lifelong Careers Service, Joel was on a chain of rejection from placement providers. However, after our Careers Team helped perfect his application, his success rates sky-rocketed. He made six applications and was invited to an interview with all of them, eventually receiving placement job offers from three. When Joel accepted his offer at Network Rail, he was told there were over 100 applicants submitted for the post, and only he got recruited for the job.
"I can not say that I was lucky. This resulted from hard work, consistency, determination, and great support from UCLan."