Innovation in the automotive industry and opportunities for graduates

Innovation in the automotive industry and opportunities for graduates


I run the engineering department where I have
a 60-strong team of multi-disciplined engineers, consisting of electronic hardware, mechanical
engineers and software engineers. For graduates it’s a great time to be in
the electronics field on automotive, because with the field advancing and higher technology
in vehicles, there’s lots of opportunities for developing what engineers do best – and
that’s high technology electronics. In terms of electronics though you’ve got
the autonomous systems, cameras, ADAS systems coming into cars, all the infotainment – single
screens, touch screens that come into cars, advanced climate control and connected car
systems that are coming in – so a car can link to other cars or link to the home.
Generally if we’re looking at taking graduates on at Pektron I’d be looking to see what
they’d done as a final year project; how relevant it’d be and how much work they’d
put into it and whether they’d got any sort of hobbies in electronics at home, whether
they’re doing work with Arduinos or Raspberry Pi or any sort of proto board work at home.
One of the best personal attributes an engineer can have in this landscape today is a thirst
for ever learning new things and striving to stay with advancing technology.
In a small business, one of the best things you can have is exposure to the full product
life-cycle. In a bigger company you might only be doing part of a project or part of
a design, but here you’ve got everything from the quotation through to the full design,
the manufacture, the validation, the testing etcetera, and full customer interaction throughout.
For example, I’ve got teams of engineers who go abroad testing cars at circuits.
I’d advise students who are looking for opportunities in smaller businesses to look
at the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology – theiet.org) because they’ve
put partnerships in place with the Enterprise Partnership Scheme with small, medium enterprise
businesses, and they have links with Nottingham University.

Author: Stephen Pender

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