Automotive Young Professionals

Automotive Young Professionals
Tom Pine
Tom Pine Graduate Engineer

I've been a Graduate Engineer at Ricardo for 18 months, mostly working with internal combustion engines. I applied to the Ricardo Graduate Program because of the rotations and training that is offered. The rotations work well because you choose which rotations you would like to do, allowing you to try out the roles that interest you the most while avoiding those that don’t. Additionally, because Ricardo is such a diverse business you can try almost any role within the field of automotive engineering.

The technical training that Ricardo offers to graduates is really good at getting you up to speed and teaches you a lot of the things that aren’t covered at university but help in the day-to-day work of an automotive engineer. Also, because the training is delivered by Ricardo experts, they can explain not only how a technology works theoretically but why in real life one concept may be selected over another. Often these reasons are not obvious, therefore this is where I think the training helps most at giving you a head start.

Overall, I think that working at a consultancy has a lot of benefits over working for an OEM. The projects are often shorter – I have worked on 15 major projects in 18 months – and this keeps things interesting. You also get to work on lots of different types of vehicles, each of which have their own challenges or technologies, therefore you are always faced by a fresh problem to solve and you get a broad experience of the automotive industry.

Personally, I’ve worked on a much larger range of products than I was expecting to when I started the Graduate Program: to date I’ve worked on some of the smallest and the largest engines available today, as well as some of the most powerful.

Jonathan Conway
Jonathan Conway Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

I currently work in project management on national/international programmes varying in complexity. The role involves holistic coordination of Ricardo resources, legal, health and safety issues, audit and adherence to budgets and timescales. Continued client communication and finding advantageous solutions to project tasks while pushing the engineering boundaries at Ricardo are essential elements of the job.

Ricardo's reputation in the automotive industry for engineering excellence attracted me to the company. The Graduate program allows rotations to departments of choice, tailoring personal development to areas of interest and strengths and gaining a more practical knowledge of engineering principles and applications.

Project Management - Responsible for successful management of major projects, daily interaction with clients and other departments was essential to allow for each project’s unique requirements and gave me an overview of the company’s consultancy role.  Ricardo was keen to develop my skills with an assigned IMechE mentor, and, on my return to the department, funded completion of the APM accredited course in Project Management.

Test Operations - Focusing on audit and testing of engines I worked closely with clients and suppliers to both create and run standardised tests. These help us get to the root cause of long running warranty issues. Further analysis and discussions with component holder/suppliers found solutions to these issues.

Base Engine Analysis - Work was highly varied including energy consumption studies, thermal analysis of coolant systems and thermal CFD analysis. On each project I expanded my knowledge while collating the department’s evaluations, allowing continuous development of Ricardo's client-facing software packages.

Community programs - I currently lead a core team of Ricardo volunteers to run several community programs and projects. Ricardo is determined to develop the next generation of engineers by supporting local schools with STEM sessions to widen access and show engineering’s huge variety of applications and opportunities.
 
While working on an engine auditing program I reviewed the engines being tested after they had been stripped down which gave me a unique insight into their manufacture. Several of the tests pushed engines to their limits, which resulted in interesting large holes to assess and evaluate!
 
Throughout the 2-year rotation and onwards I have been supported by Ricardo to develop core skills and areas of engineering interest. I consider that Ricardo provides long term development and progression within a friendly workplace environment.

Alex Clark
Alex Clark Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

I joined Ricardo in 2015 as a graduate, having studied Mechanical Engineering at university. My first rotation was in Design, which included designing a crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods in CAD. I rotated to Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH), where I ran acoustic engine testing in an anechoic test cell- the highlight had to be a 6-month assignment at a client in Sweden.

My final rotation was in Engine Calibration, developing the latest engine after treatment systems, which involved a trip to Spain to test the vehicles at altitude. I am now back in a permanent role in NVH Sound Quality, with a focus on electric vehicles, although I have worked on train engines, plug-in hybrids, supercar engines as well as family hatchbacks.

Ricardo is a great place to work, as I have worked on such a variety of interesting projects with some great people, and I still learn something new every day!

Sharon Suresh Kumar
Sharon Suresh Kumar Graduate Engineer

Ricardo's legacy in the automotive industry and the breadth of research and services they offer to partners in the industry and the opportunity to work with and learn from industry leading experts is the reason why I applied to work at Ricardo.

I have done 3 rotations so far within McLaren Engine Assembly. I started off as a product engineer carrying out engine failure investigations, root cause analyses and coming up with engineering solutions to prevent further occurrences of those issues. I then worked as quality engineer which involved working with the entire team of around 60 people across two shifts, to prevent and contain any quality issues that arose on our assembly line and at the customer. I also trained to carry out audits against ISO 9001 to continuously improve the quality standards of our assembly line. As a supplier quality engineer, I worked with suppliers around the world and experienced different working cultures. I carried out process audits and it was a great opportunity to learn about different manufacturing methods and processes related to manufacturing. I am now moving on to my last rotation as a Process Engineer within the New Product Introduction team, working on a future engine variant for McLaren.

I find it very interesting to get to the bottom of pressing engineering problems, whether it occurred at the supplier or internally. Working quickly, efficiently, accurately and often with a big team is super interesting.

As a STEM ambassador, I also find it very rewarding to inspire the next generation of engineers. I do this by speaking to/carrying out engineering experiments with school and college students during science weeks, local engineering or science fairs.

Ellie Walsh
Ellie Walsh Apprentice

For nearly 2 years, I have been working at the Midlands Technical Centre (MTC) as a Business Administration apprentice. During this time, I have completed levels 2 and 3.

I do a variety of jobs within the Site Services department here at MTC, including administration, health and safety, and internal and external training. I spend one day a week in the Human Resources department to build my knowledge and experience.

Alongside my role in Site Services, I help to organise many corporate events at MTC such as the Christmas party, bonfire night and quiz nights. I enjoy being involved in the event planning as it is nice to see it all coming together and to experience the end result.

I think the most surprising thing for me about Ricardo and my apprenticeship was the social life that comes with it. There is such a diverse range of people here and I have formed amazing friendships.

I applied for an apprenticeship back in 2016 because Sixth Form just wasn’t for me any more. Ricardo and the people within it are extremely supportive, it is a great place to work, and the work is varied and exciting. There is always the chance to progress and learn new things and, best of all, you feel part of an extended community .

Aaron Cockerill
Aaron Cockerill Development Engineer

I am a member of the Design Team at the Midlands Technical Centre in Leamington Spa. At the moment, my work is focused on gear design and transmission layout. I knew before joining Ricardo that I wanted to work with transmissions as there was something about gears and bearings that interested me. I applied to join Ricardo after I was made aware that, as an engineering consultancy, it was responsible for a large quantity of transmission designs each year for a range of different markets.

Since working at Ricardo, I have been actively involved in large projects including the clean-sheet design of a 24-speed tractor transmission. As well as designing the gears for this transmission, I shared the responsibility of developing a viable concept with a larger design team. This involved the quick production of numerous transmission layouts from which a final transmission design was later developed. Working closely with highly experienced design engineers was beneficial to my development within the team and any ideas or opinions I had were taken into consideration. Some of my ideas were included in the final transmission design.

Initially, I was surprised that, as a graduate engineer, I was given such a high level of responsibility from the outset. However, I found that if I made a mistake or a small error, the team members were understanding and offered their help to prevent it from happening again.

The best part about working for Ricardo is the range of engineering challenges that are faced daily. The work is fast-paced and our customers expect a lot from us. I feel I was considered to be a valuable member of the team from day one. This is demonstrated by the amount of time people are prepared to put aside to help mentor and support me as I develop as an engineer.

Alice McGuigan
Alice McGuigan Development Engineer

Following an earlier placement at Ricardo, when I worked in various areas, I decided that I wanted to be a Development Engineer. As such, I don’t rotate , unlike people in the full graduate scheme. I chose the Chassis Department because it involves working on all chassis systems including steering, suspension, and wheels and tyres.

I have worked on such a variety of projects ranging from defence projects to supercars. The one I have been heavily involved with over the last year is a well-known commercial vehicle update. During this project, I was put in charge of managing the Wheels and Tyres section, which meant I held meetings with wheel suppliers to discuss the design for various prototype stages.

I worked on this project when I was on placement. I found that the skills and experience gained at that time, together with further knowledge acquired when I returned to university, helped me to have a really positive start when I came back to Ricardo on the Development Engineer scheme.

I was surprised how quickly and how much responsibility I was given once I was on the scheme. However, support from the Chief Engineer and other colleagues is always there if I have any questions.

The best thing about Ricardo, other than the amazing range of projects you get to work on, is the people. Everyone is willing and able to help if you have questions about anything, and we always have a laugh when there is a spare moment in our busy days. The graduates we get in each year at the Midlands Technical Centre are always very sociable and we have become a close-knit group.

Luca Di Marino
Luca Di Marino Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

The placement for my year in industry was in Ricardo’s Engine Controls and Calibration Department at the Shoreham Technical Centre where I performed calibration engineering. Now, as part the graduate scheme, I am spending my first rotation with the Process Engineering team of the Performance Products: New Production Introduction Department.

For the first 6 months of my time in the Calibration Department, I worked on a heavy-duty diesel engine calibration project for Euro IV emissions regulations. This included testbed and in-vehicle testing, and altitude and climatic/cold-start activities. Later, I was placed on a high-performance gasoline project, again performing and managing cold-start testing. However, this project also involved implementing a new test facility. Furthermore, I co-authored an investigation into ‘Avoidance of Low Speed Pre Ignition in Downsized Boosted Engines’. I wrote a small Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Cycles (WLTC) Shifting Strategy sheet to assist testing in Ricardo’s Vehicle Emissions Research Centre. Finally, I took part in an Internal Combustion Fundamentals course .

As a graduate, I am now working on an extremely interesting project to industrialise (make production viable) a prototype engine (including facility design, DFA and early prototype design support). I’ve also been enrolled on the Rapid Engineer Development (RED) Scheme that all new engineering graduates undertake. The Scheme covers topics such as an engine design, advanced internal combustion and gearbox design overview. Furthermore, I, along with the other graduates have been developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities to be used to engage with children from the local area.

 

Scott Walker
Scott Walker Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

I started working for Ricardo as a Graduate Engineer 2 years ago after graduating from the University of Leeds where I studied Mechanical Engineering. When I joined the company, I was given support in helping me to find the engineering discipline I most preferred.

Initially, I had very little transmission expertise, but since joining Ricardo, I have learnt a great deal about the subject from my colleagues who have vast knowledge and experience, and are very willing to share it. Their passion has increased my appreciation and desire to continue working in the automotive industry.

I now work in the Test Operations Department in the Transmission Unit, which has given me great exposure to a variety of projects and experiences. I have been involved in setting up and running tests, and building transmissions.

Being part of a small team has enabled me to have different roles in several projects. For example, following guidance from colleagues, I was given ownership of setting up my own processes to fulfil customer requirements. This has been very rewarding. I have been given customer-facing roles, allowing me to travel to customers’ plants and learn about different cultures.

I have very much enjoyed my experiences so far and working with such passionate engineers on a variety of projects has driven me to improve my knowledge and application.

India Phillips
India Phillips Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

Since joining Ricardo, I have experienced work in three departments: Driveline and Transmission Sales, Powertrain Systems Engineering and Electrical Systems Engineering. I have enjoyed completing a wide range of tasks which have included commercial and business development work, subjective and objective vehicle testing, and management of the design and development of a vehicle cooling system.

As with the nature of a consultancy, the work is very varied. Exposure to a wide range of companies with different needs and demands, from countries around the world helps you develop a broader understanding of the automotive industry on a global scale as well as interpersonal skills due to regular customer contact.

Despite the graduate scheme consisting of only four rotations, due to the high level of integration between the departments, it is possible to get exposure to the type of work carried out by the other teams within the business.

Working at Ricardo makes you feel like an integral member of the team; managers have a high level of trust and are willing to give responsibility and opportunities to all team members. Whilst at times this can be daunting, no matter how busy, your colleagues will always find the time to help you when it is needed.

Solomon Beazer
Solomon Beazer Engineer (Post Graduate Scheme)

My role as a Graduate Engineer at Ricardo’s Midlands Technical Centre (MTC) enables me to rotate around the business four times over 2 years. Rotations range from deep technical work, to broad commercial work. I have worked with a range of companies , from small up to major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). I have also been given the opportunity to be involved with business development activities. The rotations and variety in work are what attracted me to the Ricardo’s Graduate Engineer Scheme. All of this makes for a very fulfilling experience.

The surprising and most enjoyable part about working at Ricardo is the level of responsibility I have been given. This pushes the boundaries of my knowledge and promotes my development as an early engineer. That said, I have supportive team members whose expertise can be drawn on whenever I need it.

Ricardo is very supportive of our goals so there is plenty of training and a wide variety of work available here. I have a professional institution mentor, fees to my professional institution are covered and I am given time to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities.

I would recommend Ricardo’s Graduate Engineer Scheme to any aspiring engineer.