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Honorary Graduate Alan J Banks, posing in Richmond Building wearing red and gold graduation gowns.

Shaping mechanical engineers of the future - Alan J Banks
Honorary Award Community

This blog shares how Honorary Award Recipients can share their expertise and knowledge to influence the curriculum, focusing on Alan Banks and his role as an Industrial Advisory Board member for the Mechanical and Energy Systems Engineering Department.

Alan J Banks was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering from the University in July 2023 in recognition of his leadership and innovation within the engineering industry. Alan was also recognised as a successful alumnus who has achieved significant levels of success in their chosen field, after he graduated in 2013 with an MSc in Engineering.

Alan has spent his full career at Ford Motor Company joining in 1983 as an apprentice. He now works in the Innovation and Research Team as the Lightweight Innovations Manager where he leads projects with light-weighting technologies and applications in design with mass production capability.

Alan is also the Chair of the Board of Directors at Composite UK, the UK's leading trade association for the Composites industry.

Using his sphere of influence and networks, Alan has also helped to raise the profile of philanthropic giving to Bradford, including facilitating a £10,000 donation from his organisation to support to University’s Formula Student team to build and take their very own race car to Silverstone.

Since graduating from our industry-based MSc in Engineering and Process Excellence, a programme which was developed specifically for engineers at the Ford Motor Company, Alan has become a champion for the activities of the University. Alan offers support to the University through his engagement as an industrial mentor to our Formula Student team, and regularly delivers mock interviews and technical lectures; it is this industry connection that is valued by our students.

David Bryant, Head of Mechanical & Energy Systems Engineering

Alan Banks, Honorary Graduate 2023

How we work together

Alan sits of the University’s Mechanical and Energy Systems Engineering Department (MESE) Industrial Advisory Board, having joined the board as a member in 2017.

This is one of the many industrial advisory boards at the University which invites industry experts to share their perspective and experience to enhance our activities in teaching, learning and research.

The board meets three times per year and has the shared goal to maximise employability and opportunities for graduates, and to promote design engineering activities within the Department.

In his role as Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board, Alan has contributed towards activities including the provision of dedicated industry-led employability workshops for our students and reviews of our taught courses to ensure that they meet the needs of industry.

I’ve found being an Industrial Advisory Board member extremely rewarding work as I get to influence the outside industry focus onto the syllabus, as well as mentoring students in interview techniques and employability workshops.

I believe that paying it forward in the field of academia is the only way to energise the workforce of tomorrow to ensure the UK is well protected and resilient in its quest to be a major world player in the fields of Engineering and mechanics, especially as these have morphed perceptively into sustainability, recycling and reusability. It is imperative that the UK stays at the cutting edge of these technologies, and I see it as my role to help keep the University of Bradford at the forefront.

Alan J. Banks, Doctor of Engineering

Watch Alan's graduation speech and read about Honorary Graduation for more information on Honorary Award Recipients.

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