March 29, 2018, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
One of the best things that has happened to me!
This week we hear from Surojit Sen about his postgraduate placement with Cleantech Business.
I’m an international student who came to Nottingham two years ago to pursue a specialization in automotive engineering. This was a big career shift for me as up until then I’d spent several years working in the banking industry. One day I realised though that you get only one lifetime to follow your dreams and I am all about cars!
Getting back into academic study was more difficult than I expected, especially after having a corporate job which gave me a decent bank balance. I found myself wanting to earn an extra buck on the side while being wary of sacrificing effort on something which wouldn’t support my career ambitions. The Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) programme which carefully matches postgraduates to discreet projects with relevant host businesses offered a great solution. I kept an eye out for vacancies and was delighted to come across a pilot project with Cleantech Business called Low Emission Vehicle Enterprise and Learning, which had everything I was looking for in a part-time role. The application process was straightforward, my interview went well, and I got the role.
Neil, my manager at Cleantech Business, and I agreed to split the 200-hour placement in 25 full days of work, one day every week. Neil was very flexible with the work days which was a bonus since often I had to travel for my PhD studies and extra-curricular activities in the Formula Student and UoN Superbike teams. My placement end goal was to develop and implement an online course introducing charging infrastructure technology and business for electric vehicles. The journey of 25-weeks was very organic in nature and Neil offered full autonomy with the project. As a result, I feel I developed several important traits like ownership and responsibility.
As a part of the job, I got to travel a good deal which was ideal as I enjoy travelling. Right in the second week of my placement I attended a 2-day certified training about safety while disassembling electric vehicles (fig-1). It was an exciting opportunity since curricular studies tend to be more theoretical than practical, but here I could take a spanner to a working car! As my manager Neil is a part of the LEVEL project I was also able to get a free seat at various conferences including one (fig-2 & fig-3) which included delegates from many UK city councils, employees from prominent automotive manufacturers and suppliers like Tesla, Bosch. It was a great opportunity for networking in the industry.
As a part of the online course development, which I worked on for Cleantech Business, I interviewed several industry veterans and benefited from their insights on technology and market trends. The objective was to include short videos in the course which meant that I also gained experience of working with a freelance video maker in shooting and editing of the interviews. One of these interviews was with the project head of electrification of all of Nottingham city public transportation. Getting the opportunity to learn from such experienced and intelligent minds was truly a blessing.
The whole placement journey has been a remarkable experience for me. In addition to earning a decent side-income, I was also able to boost my career trajectory and improve my network in the industry. At the end of the placement my boss was happy with me and I was offered a continuation into a similar role with another company. There are endless opportunities once you make a start and PPN is the right avenue to get your foot in the door!
The placement has been joint-funded by PPN and the Energy for Business project. Energy for Business can support SMEs who are energy innovators and those who want to become more energy efficient by forging links between businesses and world-class academics, researchers and graduate talent in the energy field at the University of Nottingham. Delivered by the Energy Innovation and Collaboration team and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), this low-carbon project offers product innovation, business support and capital funding to SMEs in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire regions.
If you’re a student interested in doing a postgraduate placement visit our webpage for more information, or check out current opportunities at the Placements Portal.