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John Smith, 23, from Penrith in Cumbria, is currently studying for an MEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Chester and will graduate later this year.

He will then begin a prestigious three-year graduate scheme in the railways team at Mott MacDonald, a leading global engineering, management and development consultancy. The role will combine opportunities to become involved with engineering design work on railway projects with learning more about project management, communications and networking.

John said his Electronic and Electrical Engineering programme at the University offered the perfect blend of academic study and support and the opportunity to take part in industrial placements, which enabled him to gain practical workplace experience and apply the skills and theory learned at University.

John said: “I have always had a flair for finding out how things work and creating things. Before I came to University I did an engineering apprenticeship, assembling and repairing industrial cleaning machines. It was during this apprenticeship that I learned how to apply my talents and started to develop a passion for Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE).

“I love EEE because I get a huge amount of satisfaction from seeing abstract theory come to life through physical systems. It is also quite a broad subject; you get exposure to a wide range of different areas, which is very important to me.

“I decided to study at Chester specifically because of the industrial involvement in the course. Coming from a vocational background, my goal in coming to University was to make myself more competitive and useful in industry, so I naturally found the two industrial placements offered very enticing. At Chester I have had a very close working relationship with academic staff. Gaining knowledge first-hand from some exceptionally talented and inspirational people was really enlightening, and I feel privileged to have had this experience.”

John now feels excited for his future in his chosen career.

He added: “The industrial placements that I completed during my studies were very useful in securing this role. Not only did they look good on my CV and give me relevant experience to talk about, they also gave me some perspective on what personal strengths employers are looking for. Demonstrating sincere enthusiasm for, and devotion to your subject always places you in a strong position during recruitment processes. The academic projects on offer are excellent too, giving me a balanced exposure to both industry and academia. I was very stimulated by my BEng project in particular, to the extent that I briefly considered an academic career!

“I am delighted with the position I have secured, and I hope to stay with the company for as long as possible, hopefully gaining chartership, taking on new responsibilities, and generally maximising the impact of my work. Other than this, I believe that enthusiasm and commitment will always lead to interesting opportunities, and I am excited to see where this attitude will take me.”

Dr Gerard Edwards, Acting Joint Head for Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University, said: “The Department is absolutely thrilled that John has secured such a prestigious position in the railway team at Mott MacDonald. His success vindicates the approach we take to EEE at the University of Chester with a judicious balance of theory and practice taken, that yields graduates who can thrive in the real world of engineering. The modules that John has studied in programming, signal processing, control theory, communications and the skills that he has picked up in pursuing a BEng Project in the nanoelectronics research field will stand him in good stead to work in the area of railway signalling.”


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