Student experiences

Tom Rushton on placement

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10 October 2013

Five minutes with Tom Rushton

Tom Rushton, 23, from Yorkshire, graduated in 2013 with an MEng Off Road Vehicle Design degree, and has been offered employment with JCB as a Design Engineer. He spent his year in industry with the company and found it an invaluable experience. He worked in various jobs and departments including Loadall (design work with CAD), Utility Products (on lean manufacturing processes), and Earthmovers (marketing), and also did an undergraduate project for the Attachments Department.

What was the best thing about work placement?

It allowed me to try many disciplines and help determine areas in which I might like to work in the future. 

What opportunities are available to Harper Adams engineering graduates?

Harper Adams University is very industry specific and there are options both in the rural sector and others. But studying engineering opens opportunities for a wide variety of jobs and provides the analytical skills wanted by many employers.”

How did you get onto the study programme?

The International office at Harper Adams wanted some current students to become more familiar with the Chinese students and their culture to help them integrate when they study here.  Seven of us, across various years, went on the trip and stayed in a hotel near to the  Beijing University of Agriculture, which is one of the universities that our Chinese students come from. I was aware JCB had opened a factory in Shanghai, so I hope that having some knowledge of the language and culture will give me more opportunity for business travel in the future.

What attracted you to Harper Adams? 

Studying an engineering course in a small environment with excellent support from lecturers. I enjoyed engineering and design at secondary school… and this just continued. My course mostly involved learning to problem solve, and learning to independently find knowledge and apply it.

What would a typical day on placement include?

Varied depending on position, but at Loadall mostly CAD work, to solve warranty issues on production machines

Did it build your confidence or help you develop any other skills?

Yes, it built my confidence to work with others, and helped me to become more assertive in my ideas, as well as developing some practical experience.

What are your career plans? 

I have been offered a job at JCB Loadall as a design engineer.

How do you think your course will help you with your career?

It will give me the ability to seek knowledge myself and apply it in a practical way to solve problems.

Apart from your course what have you enjoyed about your time at uni?

Attending a three week cultural study program in China. It involved language, culture, and practical lessons such as cooking or calligraphy. The experience was great - all of the Chinese students we met there helped look after us and became good friends. On evenings and weekends, they would show us around Beijing and gave us chance to see things like the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace. Living back on campus during my final year I was able to live with the Chinese students who study at Harper Adams. I was able to help them with any issues that arose, and they helped me to keep learning Chinese. 

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