Gary Wintersgill

Automotive Engineering - BEng (Hons)

After nearly a decade of work, Gary felt he needed a new challenge. Despite limited maths and physics knowledge, he took the plunge with an engineering degree and has designed his own race car to compete in a global competition at Silverstone.

"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. 

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.

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’ve 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.

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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