charlie hardstone, rolls-royce

Gap year students value their 'Year in Industry'

This September sees the culmination of a year's hard work for a group of students who chose to take a gap year in industry before going on to university.They’ve been nominated to take part in the annual ‘The Year in Industry’ awards, where students are recognised for making significant contributions to their companies.

YINI enables students to take internship years within companies in disciplines including engineering, science, IT, e-commerce, business, marketing, finance and logistics. Students are carefully matched with companies throughout the UK and placements generally run over a 9-12 month period in line with the academic year.

The programme is particularly popular with gap year students going on to take engineering and science degrees.

We caught up with three of the finalists to see what they have being doing and how they have enjoyed their year.

Rolls-Royce – Charlie Hardstone

Charlie Hardstone has been based in Hucknall in Nottinghamshire, working with Rolls-Royce PLC.

“I've worked in manufacturing engineering in the turbines supply chain unit of Rolls-Royce. Our department makes critical parts for large civil engines including those powering the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My job involves process improvements and cost reduction for a new manufacturing plant,” says Charlie who’s going on to study general engineering at the University of Bath.

“I was unsure of which area of engineering I wanted to study, so working in an engineering company for a year has exposed me to a range of disciplines I knew very little about and has enabled me to make a more informed decision about my degree course. I've developed a significant amount of manufacturing knowledge and engineering understanding in a wide range of areas as well as team working, organisational and interpersonal skills.

“I adjusted quickly to the working environment, it was a breath of fresh air to be given the freedom to make my own decisions and to have other people value my ideas and input to the team,” he explains. “I have had a fantastic year and I think everyone planning to take a degree in engineering should have a ‘Year in Industry’ before university. Working on real problems in a real company is the best way to learn and prepare for a degree.”

Proctor and Gamble – Zoe Triston

Zoe Triston from Stanley in Co.Durham has been working with Newcastle-based Proctor and Gamble Ltd where she was tasked with assisting in the development of a radical new laundry detergent.

Zoe is going on to study human sciences at Oxford University, but is glad she has taken the year out in industry.

“From the experience I have developed both my technical knowledge and key skills required to be successful in the workplace, especially the ability to present and sell the merits of your work to others. I know this will stand me in good stead at university and beyond,” she says.

“I found the adjustment from school to work a relatively easy one. Undoubtedly things become easier the longer you do them for, but even in the first few weeks I felt myself fitting in well, thanks to my welcoming colleagues and the support given by the wider intern community.

“I would really recommend YINI to anyone who is considering it and is willing to put in the work to get the most out of the experience. My internship has given me everything, and more than, I hoped it would.”

The Technology Partnership - Amaru Araya-Williams

Amaru Araya-Williams has been working with a company called The Technology Partnership plc based in Royston in Hertfordshire, where he was tasked to investigate the possibility of entering a new market area for the company by developing new anti-reflection coating technology.

“Initially, I had come across YINI as a back-up plan as I had decided to swap course midway through the university application process and I was worried I'd be told to reapply with the next academic year,” he explains. “However, once I'd read more about it, I thought it was worth taking a gap year for it anyway.

“The main things that swung it for me was being able to get a year's work experience (which is three times more likely to land you a graduate job vs. someone who hasn't done a year in industry), make sure engineering was definitely what I wanted to do, and a year in industry can count towards becoming a Chartered Engineer which is what I aim to be - all while earning a fair salary.

“I definitely enjoyed my placement and have found it extremely fulfilling. I've made new friends and the experience will put me in good stead when it comes to finding a job after university as it seems like a year's experience is almost as important to a company as a First in a degree. I'd definitely recommend trying to get a placement as it's probably been the best decision of my life so far!”

Amaru is going on to study engineering at Cambridge University next year.

For more information on ‘The Year in Industry’, visit or email

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