Student experiences

James Chapman on placement

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9 October 2013

Five minutes with… JCB placement student, James Chapman

James, 22, from Milton Keynes, is studying an undergraduate Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering, and has worked in various different departments at JCB during his placement, as well as during the summer between placement and his final year.

What did you enjoy most about your work placement as an undergraduate engineer?

It was great being able to carry out full time engineers’ roles but with the safety backup of someone to ask questions when stuck. I now have a better understanding of the area that I would like to work in and have gained contacts in that area.

What careers do you think are available to Harper Adams engineers?

Studying Agricultural Engineering does not restrict you to agricultural products, as the base of the course is general engineering practices which are useful in all areas.

Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams? 

It was the only place to offer the mix of subject areas that interested me.

Did the fact that Harper offers a placement year influence your decision to study here?

Yes as I feel it is an important step to gain experience and guide your ideas towards a final career. I now have a better understanding of the area that I would like to work in and have gained contacts in that area.

What would a typical day on placement involve?

I never had a typical day as we moved around departments through the year. I carried out roles mainly in design, development and testing.

Do you think being a graduate will make a difference to your position and salary?

Yes as it allows access to large companies but once in a company the specific degree is not important as you can be allowed to move into sectors not directly associated with the chosen course.

What advice do you have for a student interested in following a similar career path? 

Gain experience wherever possible!

What do you think of the teaching at Harper Adams?

Really good, lecturers are approachable and normally operate an open door policy.

And the facilities?

Good, allowing practical based learning where needed.

What have you enjoyed most about uni so far?

Everything, from the general interaction with like-minded people to the social entertainment. Also being able to look out of the window in a lecture at tractors without being laughed at!

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