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Gary Wintersgill

Automotive Engineering - BEng (Hons)

After leaving school Gary chose to pursue an apprenticeship. However, after nearly a decade working he felt he needed a new challenge. He applied to study a degree that also incorporated a Foundation year. He chose BCU for its community feel, combined with a more personal connection with its smaller size classes and lectures. As a key figure in Formula Student, Gary has learnt a range of valuable skills to help shape his future.

“I attended a Birmingham City University Open Day, which was key in my decision to come to uni. It confirmed my expectations of the type of material the course would cover, and the facilities that were available to students. It also gave me insight to what the community was like at BCU.

I wanted to study Automotive Engineering as I had a great interest in vehicle design and manufacturing. I like to question why things have been done in a certain way and understand the processes used to create something.  

Getting back into education was a struggle, as I had previously studied very limited maths and physics. I managed to overcome this with hard work and persistence, plus guidance from lecturers. During my time at BCU, the University has provided me with lots of support. I am able to arrange meetings with lecturers easily and efficiently. They allow me to discuss any questions I have, and allow me to keep learning. I’ve become more independent and self-motivated since starting my course.

I have had to significantly improve my time management skills, allowing me to plan for my assignments and targets. I have become more structured and organised and tried to break bad habits. I used to turn up at the start time and deal with problems as they arose. However, I now have a structured timetable to organise my workload.

In my first year of university I was the Formula Student (an industry recognised competition) team leader. Teams work together to build a single seater race car to a set of given guidelines. The competition takes place at Silverstone in July. Each team is marked on static and dynamic events. This provided me with challenges such as presenting budgets, managing people, organising for the event, as well as engineering design and packing challenges. I overcame these challenges with help and support from my friends and peers, as well as the help and guidance from the assigned staff member. This experience was a huge part of my uni life and has been one of the most valuable learning experiences for me.

After a very busy first year from Formula Student, the University came 26th overall, out of 81 universities. This was close to BCU’s best result, beating lots of local universities. After all the hard work, long days and nights the achievement paid off. I also won the Ede & Ravenscroft Award for contribution to the faculty, relating to my hard work and effort with Formula Student.

The course has a big focus on industry-ready skills, such as Computer Aided design. This is the process of drawing on a computer to make a 3D part, which could then be turned into an engineering drawing ready to be manufactured. This skill has prepared me for my assessments and equipped me for work after graduation.

After I graduate, I would like to be employed in a design or research and development role. I am interested in the latter as you get to be at the forefront of the engineering process, and design allows me to be involved in the products that the customer will see and use.

I AM BCU stands for the BCU community which is shaping students to become young professionals. To me Birmingham City University also reflects the environment of the students, and how the experience of university is being guided by students to benefit future students.”

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