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Thomas Hamilton

Automotive Engineering - BEng (Hons)

Intrigued by the design and manufacturing of automotive vehicles, Thomas was determined to unravel his engineering potential by choosing the BEng (Hons) Automotive Engineering course. Through being thoroughly involved in the Formula Student racing team, Thomas has gained a copious amount of practical skills and a wealth of industry knowledge in order to help him achieve his dream job ensuing graduation.

“I wanted to go to university to study Automotive Engineering so I could learn how cars were designed and manufactured. I applied to multiple universities, but after coming to an applicant day at Birmingham City University, the uni felt right for me as it had more of a practical element to the course. 

I chose to study Automotive Engineering as I have always been enthusiastic about cars and the machines involved in making them. I wanted to learn how engines work and how manufacturers use CAD to design parts.

When I started at BCU and moved into student halls, I was a bit daunted. However, I realised everyone was in the same position. I found that everyone was really friendly and easy to talk to, even though I appeared to be shy. Since becoming a student here, I am a lot more independent and have matured into an adult. This is all because I’ve had to manage my own finances, assignments and deadlines, as well as live on my own.

The main challenge with university, in comparison to A-Levels, is the level of independent study involved; you have to manage your assignments and exam deadlines yourself and to do this you need to be self-motivated. I’ve coped by becoming better at time management and planning ahead. The other main challenge I have faced on my course was finding CAD and technical work difficult, I felt I had a steep learning curve. However, I overcame this issue by undertaking independent research and having guidance from my lecturers, as they provided one-on-one support which helped massively. 

I’ve learnt a lot during my degree and gained skills in project and time management, teamwork, communication and problem solving. I have also learnt CAD related skills using programmes such as, Catia, ANSYS and practical skills on how to use CNC mills and lathes. 

I’m most proud of my time in BCU Racing which has allowed me to design and manufacture parts for a race car, attend events at Goodwood, Silverstone and visit manufacturers such as, Prodrive, Grainger and Worrall. I am extremely proud to have helped lead the team to achieve its second best result at the IMechE’s Formula Student UK; placing 25th out of 80+ teams! BCU Racing was important in helping me to develop my professionalism as a student; it provided me with technical skills and gave me confidence in my knowledge. It also gave me the ability to speak publically - something which I wasn’t able to do before my time at university.

Once I graduate, I hope to gain a job in manufacturing composite car parts. I’ve chosen this path as I enjoyed designing and manufacturing the BCU Racing bodywork for the past three years. I would love to learn more on how these parts are manufactured by well-established companies who work on a larger scale.

For me, ‘I AM BCU’ means a university where students are provided with ‘real world’ experiences. BCU teaches you to design to realistic restrictions and this makes you more employable with companies as you really consider the part you are designing. There is a supportive community behind you, with lecturers offering assistance if and when needed. If you show an interest and want to make the most of your degree, Birmingham City University will help you succeed.”

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