Lauren Young

Automotive Engineering – BEng

Lauren wanted to pursue her passion and do something unexpected. When she chose to study automotive engineering, she knew she could be the only girl on her course but she didn’t let that stop her, instead, it motivates her.

“I knew that I always wanted to go to university and continue my education, specifically to study a subject that I was really interested in and that I can build my career from. I wanted to find something that incorporated my favourite subjects: art and mathematics, so I chose automotive engineering. I wanted to push myself to do something unexpected. I knew it would be a male dominated subject, however, I didn’t let that put me off.

I did consider that I could be the only girl, but this didn’t deter me from going into engineering. If anything, I feel as though being a woman in engineering helps you to stand out to employers - you'll be the one people remember! I would absolutely encourage more girls to apply for my course. Although I’m one of two girls in my year, I’ve never felt left out on my course, the community is great and so are the tutors.

I love the innovation that comes with engineering and it’s a subject that is needed in all aspects of life so there are so many opportunities. I chose BCU because I feel they aren’t just focussing on academic achievement, they care about producing well rounded, employable students.

I have recently completed a placement with BCU as an automotive engineering technician. I wasn’t planning on doing a placement year, but it was actually my tutors that encouraged me to go for it. They knew how much this practical experience would benefit my career. I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot throughout the process, it really helped me apply myself and my knowledge. I learnt how to use many pieces of machinery including the CNC milling router and plasma cutter and I got the opportunity to speak and collaborate with external companies which developed my professional communication skills. The experience of working with a technical team in how they run the lab and workshop will be very useful in industry. I gained a lot of insight on what a job in engineering could actually look like.

At BCU, I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with companies and create links with important people, to make sure I have as many options as possible when I graduate. A lot of these links wouldn’t be possible without BCU. I had the opportunity to speak with many different people through events such as Techfest and Innovation fest.

Something that stands out the most for me being a student at BCU is how encouraging my lecturers are. My group did really well in a competition and my lecturers were so proud of us. They made a point of celebrating us and even recommended us for other competitions and to speak at events which really made me feel very proud of my achievements; they always push us to do more.

Another reason for going to university was to leave my hometown in Northern Ireland and explore somewhere new. I was quite determined to move away from home and begin a new journey. However, moving my whole life to a new country when I could’ve stayed at home to attend a local university was hard.

I lived in Jennens Court for my first year of university. I was completely new to the city and had only been to England once before, Jennens Court is really close to the university and Birmingham, which helped me find my way around and get used to the city setting. It was also great to meet new people and made moving a lot easier for me.

I think Birmingham is a great place for students, there is so much going on and lots to do. It is such a bright, vibrant city and it’s so diverse. There’s so much to do as a student, if you have any interest in something, doesn’t matter what it is, you can go and do it.

I also get involved with course-related activities, it’s a great way to make friends. I attend tech and engineering events, careers fairs and I’m currently involved with the Formula student project – which gives me the chance to work with others to design, build, and race a car against 150 other teams at Silverstone!

Since starting at BCU I’ve become so much more mature and my way of thinking has changed. I feel that I have not just progressed academically, with a greater knowledge of my chosen field of study but I have also become more mature in how I handle things and make decisions. I am much more motivated in my work, and I always try to put the best version of myself forward.

For me ‘I am BCU,’ means that we are the university, we make up what the university stands for. We aren’t just students at the university, without us BCU wouldn’t be what it is.”