The Jaguar Land Rover Research team at the WMG Campus has opened its doors to science students from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them hands-on experience in a professional research environment.
The initiative is part of the Nuffield Research Placement programme, which aims to help sixth form students develop their skills and confidence in quantitative and scientific methods.
The nine students were set real world business STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) challenges, ranging from developing electric and self-driving vehicle technologies to reviewing the steering wheel used on the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) boat and researching next generation energy storage. Each student was assigned to a JLR mentor and spent six weeks working on their project. The placements concluded with project presentations to their mentors and managers and some of the students have since applied for CREST awards for their projects.
Student, Ishaque Jussab (shown in Gallery), whose task was to computer model a new suspension bracket in CAD, explained: “I want to go to university and pursue a STEM career. I’m leaning towards aerospace, but Jaguar Land Rover has so many different engineering types, so I wanted to learn about other options. I really enjoyed the placement and am proud that three of the parts I built were 3D printed and will be used in the future for demonstrations. I now know I can become an electrician and go and do different things!”
Elle Bryan (shown in Gallery) added: “I’ve always been interested in electrical engineering, but I didn’t know a lot about it so I applied for this programme to see what the actual job is like. I’ve been working on a the Land Rover BAR project to improve the boat’s steering wheel functionality. Since the placement, I’m a lot more confident meeting new people and in my abilities. I’ve reinforced my coding and have learned better ways to present my work and to explain it to other people. I’ve now decided I want to do general engineering and am currently choosing my preferred universities.”
Peter Brown, Research Lead, who manages the programme, said: “By working with our professional researchers, the students have gained an insight into a wide variety of STEM careers which we hope will inspire them to become future scientists and engineers.
The students have tackled real business issues and some of their contributions will be carried forward, and may even be prototyped which shows how well they performed. The placements have developed our teaching and mentoring skills too and it’s been good giving something back to the local community and inspiring others with our passion for STEM. As many of the students are from deprived backgrounds, these experiences can be truly life-changing.”
If you'd like to volunteer to mentor work experience students in your department, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will put you in touch with your local Education Centre.
The JLR work experience programme is for students aged 15-18 and will reopen in 2018.
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