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Martin Palmer BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering

Martin Palmer

Martin undertook a placement as Undergraduate Engineer – Special Projects at Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd, which provides independent vehicle testing services to a wide range of clients. He found the experience hugely beneficial from an academic and personal perspective, and secured a two-month extension to his original contract as well as an offer to return after he finishes his degree.

Engineering Courses

Birmingham City University

“I wanted to grow the skills I had learned at university and apply them in the real world. I find it much better to understand engineering concepts if I can apply them to examples and develop my software and communication skills with real, time-critical tasks where others depend on your results. I also felt that a placement would be the sole most employable asset to add to a graduate CV when looking for work after completing your degree.

“Highlights have included working as a Project Manager and Engineer for a contract amendment task valued at over £100k; being a System Engineer for two bespoke vehicle installations, responsible for the design and integration of third-party equipment; and introducing additive manufacture – also known as 3D Printing – to the department after compiling a business case, resulting in the first month’s savings of over £6k and 100 man hours.

“Each day was very varied and on average I would spend around one day in every fortnight off-site, either with suppliers or with customers for meetings, visits and quality control checks. These were also very valuable learning exercises as I discovered when visiting an industrial scale additive manufacturing facility. We were required to do our eight hours but leaving and starting times were flexible – usually I would finish around 4, heading out for a bike ride with some colleagues or dinner with the other undergraduates.

“I found placement a fantastic all round experience. I left with an incredible sense of belonging and numerous very good friends. I was given an extension at the end of my placement from July until I returned to university in September and received an offer to return on the completion of my degree. 

“I found that I didn’t just improve the engineering side of me; my social skills, communication, confidence and out-goingness all developed to the point where I went on a 10-day 800 mile cycling tour of France and Spain with five colleagues and travelled to Iceland, Cuba and California with the money I saved from the job. Working and studying for me is all about finding a comfortable balance and I managed to find that with the help of a really supportive, active and enjoyable team.

“I have gained lots of skills, a better planning outlook, and communication and organisation skills. I want to get involved with as many cross-curriculum tasks as possible to branch out my studies and knowledge. I am also tying my research with 3D printing back into my dissertation.

“After a placement, the range of topics you can discuss at interviews is now much greater, as is the content you can list on your CV. Employers understand that you have taken your knowledge and applied it, proving you are a viable candidate for a working environment.”

Martin undertook a placement as Undergraduate Engineer – Special Projects at Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd, which provides independent vehicle testing services to a wide range of clients. He found the experience hugely beneficial from an academic and personal perspective, and secured a two-month extension to his original contract as well as an offer to return after he finishes his degree.