International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Engineering You’re Hired! Or one step closer to being hired! - by Rishi Parwani

Sheffield is one of the very few universities in the country to offer a project week devoted to further developing our acquired engineering skills. ‘Engineering You’re Hired’ is the second year equivalent to the ‘Global Engineering Challenge’ which has been highlighted by my fellow ambassador, Muhammad Zainudin in a previous blog post. In this post, brought to you by yours truly, I’ll be sharing with you my experience of taking part in EYH.  

What does the week involve you ask so curiously? Essentially, we are put into multi-disciplinary teams consisting of engineers from different disciplines and given a project to which we have to propose a solution in the form of a pitch to a company who would fund the project. My team consisted of Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics, Information Technology and Business as well as Aerospace Engineers and we were asked to design a commercial electric or hybrid aircraft in response to the rise in use of hydrocarbons in the commercial aviation industry.

The project brief was open ended which really allowed us to explore many different conceptual designs. This was where our creative juices flowed best and the Aerospace geek in me was so excited to be part of such an enthralling project. Our first day consisted of coming up with initial ideas as well as considering different factors (i.e. Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) – this really helped us in deciding what we wanted in our final design and what we had to prioritise in order to ‘get the funding’ for our final presentation at the end of the week.

What I really appreciated about this project week and my given topic was that it genuinely gave me such a good insight into the career that I’m about to launch myself into after I graduate. I’ve always been fascinated by the Aerospace industry and taking part in EYH really opened my eyes to how conservative the industry can be which is no surprise given the safety record commercial aviation currently possesses. Not to mention how costly it is to get an aircraft into service. This week was all about researching the specifics and on average we learnt that it takes over 15 years from initially designing an aircraft to its first flight with total investments upwards of £6bn! I found this fascinating as I never really delved into specifics of costs and investments required for aircraft manufacture.

Without boring you too much with the technical details, our final design incorporated a blended wing body which is essentially an aircraft which has the wings integrated into the fuselage. They look like UFOs from certain angles and are really quite fantastic dramatically reducing fuel consumption (by about 15% which is A LOT in this industry) which is one of the main reasons we pitched this as our final design.

Every day of the week consisted of working hard on our final designs competing with other groups to be ‘granted the funding’ as well partaking in presentations in the form of a Boardroom. This would consist of a short 2-3-minute presentation so that our facilitators could monitor our progress throughout the week as well as ask us about designs and why we’ve chosen them as such. On the Wednesday, an industrial mentor partook in the Boardroom session and our team was selected for being the ‘Most Professional’ which really did motivate us for pressing on with the rest of the week.

Even though we didn’t win the best pitch in the end, my team and I had a great week learning more about the commercial aviation industry, coming up with the final design as well as refining our engineering skills. It was a pleasure working with them and getting to know them. I genuinely enjoyed being able to apply what I learnt in lectures and am even more excited about the prospect of being an Aerospace Engineer in industry as a result of EYH. My career in Aerospace is one step closer to taking off.

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