Gaining relevant experience through the Formula Student competition, James Hazelhurst gets to walk into work every morning past a row of Bentleys…
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
I work at Bentley Motors in Crewe.
What's your job title?
Graduate Chassis Engineer.
How long have you been doing that?
I joined Bentley in October 2010.
How did you get there?
I completed an MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering after taking my A-levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Through my involvement with the IMechE Formula Student project to design, build and test a small single seat racing car I developed specific knowledge relative to automotive engineering from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
What are you currently studying?
Although not a formal training course, I am working at Bentley under the Graduate Development Programme. This consists of a number of varied placements around the entire company to give as wide an exposure as possible; the aim being that graduates obtain a wider understanding of the whole company and how their work fits into that of the business.
What's the work like?
Widely varied: from analysing data on a computer to being on my feet all day chasing up parts and conducting physical tests.
What are the people you work with like?
Bentley places great emphasis on its behavioural framework and this reflects in the quality of people that it attracts. Everyone is great to work with and works as a team.
What's the best thing about the job?
I have always had a passion for cars and to get a job with a great British marque is a dream come true. Nothing beats walking into work every morning past a row of Bentleys.
Much travel involved?
I have been out to Spain to a test track conducting car tests for a week, with future trips on the horizon. The department I'm in undertakes a lot of testing around Europe.
What do you think you'll do next?
I'm currently halfway through my first placement in my Vehicle Dynamics and I'm looking forward to my next placement in either Quality or Press and Specials in a couple of months time. I'm looking forward to the end of my graduate scheme so I can take all my experience into a permanent position and make a significant contribution to the product that the company makes.
Any advice to prospective graduates?
Take any opportunity you get to experience practical engineering outside of your structured training/qualification. Not only will it teach you to think for yourself and apply the knowledge you do have to new situations, it will also give you priceless practical and hands on experience. It will also make you more appealing to prospective employers.