Developing skills alongside theoretical knowledge is one of key elements that make our degrees matter. Making our students industry ready in both their knowledge and capabilities helps them to thrive, especially after graduation. One such student is Will Underwood, who graduated last summer from BSc (Hons) Off Road Vehicle Design, and found the practical side of his degree studies most helpful.
When asked what inspired his studies, Will said: "At school I was definitely more of a vocational student. Being in an academic environment I always felt I struggled, even if I had an interest in the subject.
"But when you’re applying an equation taught in your mathematics module to aid the design of your component going into the group electric buggy project, it all satisfyingly clicks! Simply put, I was inspired to apply what I'd learnt in the classroom to real-world, hands-on projects."
In choosing to pursue higher education, Will commented: "A degree gives you lots of opportunities that otherwise you might not get. Harper's engineering courses, and I dare say all the rest, are strucutured to give you relelvant skills and knowledge needed in the real world. Every lesson is high quality and valuable."
The placement year is another opportunity to get hands on by working in your chosen industry. Will spoke about his experience, saying: "My placement year at Grainger & Worrall provided me with additional skills found beyond the classroom.
"Communication skills are necessary in many industries. I learnt to appreciate how a message is perceived when passed along a chain, and be mindful of different viewpoints and opinions.
"Along with this, another key skill was to learn how things go wrong to be able to more quickly identify a problem before it was a major issue. I learnt to quickly question the why, when and when factor of a scenario. This helped me reach the root of the problem and learn from the errors made. Learning my lessons here was benefical and will continue to be, no matter what role I am in."
Since graduation, Will has gone on to become a Junior Design Engineer at Albutt Attachments. He explained: "Harper helped prepare me for a career in engineering with its supportive staff who delivered a comprehensive and industry relevant course.
"I’ve graduated with a forward thinking and positive outlook which reflects the quality of the degree and university as a whole."
Even before starting, Will knew Harper was the place for him. He commented: "I was impressed by the facilities and the obvious signs that students were hands-on with their studies.
"During my interview I was asked more about my interests and abilities beyond the classroom which was very assuring. This in itself showed how the staff support students by getting to know them.
"Because of this, I would really would advise joining a club or society. It adds an extra-curricular activity to your week and the chance to meet other students on different courses.
"I joined rowing, made friends with people studying other courses, and in my second year went on to be the club's president which was an invaluable experience."
Altogether, Will's learning experience has prepared him well for the working world. To find out the different opportunities that await our graduates, you can find out more here.