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Simba Chiweshe

MEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Diploma in Industrial Studies (2014)
Graduate Project Engineer with Continental Automotive Group (contracted to Bentley Motors)

Simba Chiweshe

Why did you apply to Bradford and why did you choose your course?

After careful research about the University of Bradford, I found out that it was the place that would give the university experience that I was after, an experience that is filled with diversity and emphasis on employability. The international presence at Bradford is the other thing that attracted me to the university. I have always had an interest in Mathematics and Physics and I found that the study of MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering (5 year sandwich course) would combine the two, thus I took the course. The job opportunities after graduating with a degree in that field are varied as it can get, people have been known to even land top non-engineering jobs with this degree.

What do you like about the University and your course?

The location of the university is very strategic and makes life a lot easier for international students. The main campus is located just a walk away from the city centre and is close to most of the halls of residence. Bradford is also just 20mins away by train from Leeds, which is a good place to do shopping if you like variety.

My course is so practical and has loads of lab sessions, which I find intriguing and make the course interesting and more understandable. The range of subjects that my course cover is something I appreciate as it gives me the opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of industries, whether it be consumer electronics, telecommunications, power, manufacturing and building services etc..

What support have you received from Career Development Services whilst at University?

The CDS has helped me a lot through their support that they give to me by helping me in every step of my career and university life. They have helped from coming up with a CV for part time work to preparations for interviews and assessment centres for placements. They also provide seminars that have helped develop my confidence and perfected my soft skills. The most support I received and treasure is that they helped me with mock interviews and provided an assessment centre workshop that helped me to shine at the assessment centres that I attended and eventually secured a job. The staff members at CDS take students personal and professional development seriously; I will keep in touch with them as they have been pivotal in my success.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at University?

I am getting involved in societies, doing part time work during the semester, took a year in industry (Industrial Placement) and volunteering as much as I can.  I did my industrial placement with IBM and ARUP, which has given me practical industrial experience, which is vital.  In my second year, I was the Co-founder and President of the Adventist Youth Society and I also work as a Senior Warden in The Green that is managed by the University. I increase my professional online presence by being an active member of LinkedIn and by the professional use of Twitter. One great resource that helped me was using my available resources wisely such as my lecturers, CDS, internet and taking the initiative to improve my online aptitude tests by practising using the university’s service. 

What advice would you give to your fellow international students about improving their employability?

Get involved in more than academic studies; societies and sports are a good place to develop and gain valuable skills that employers are after. Attend the Employability workshops/seminars that the CDS organise; these are rich with material that will benefit you and prepare you for the world of work. I would advise getting a placement whether a summer one or a year-long one that will make a difference on your CV as you will be having relevant experience in your field of study. Make as much professional connections or contacts as you can, as they will prove useful at some point.

What have you enjoyed most about being an international student at the University of Bradford?

The exposure and opportunities that are at the university have blown my mind. It is up to one to make the most of the resources that the university has in abundance. I have enjoyed mixing and interacting with people from different backgrounds and this has made me flexible and easily adaptable to different situations. The friends and contacts that I have made are priceless. In addition the trips organised by the International Office gave me a chance to really explore England in depth and see the most iconic places it has to offer, at a very affordable price. Bradford city is one of the cheapest and affordable cities for students.

What would you say about the University of Bradford and the city to prospective international students?

Bradford is the place to be for international students; it is abundant with the diversity of many cultures and is very welcoming to everyone from all walks of life. The university has a dedicated International Office to support students and help them get to know Bradford, and England as a whole. The International Office regularly organise trips, events, games and tournaments for the international student community, which I have found very useful and interesting.

Tell us about your current job…

I am now working as a Graduate Project Engineer, with Continental Automotive Trading UK since June 2014. I am contracted to Bentley Motors (which is a customer of Continental) where I am part of the Vehicle Energy Management and Networks Team. My role is to get on the job training whilst delivering innovative engineering solutions for turnkey projects. In the few months I have been here, I have been involved in electronic & software design, electrical integration and vehicle networks. Some of the highlights of the job is getting to first-hand experience of one of the world’s most luxury cars and travelling to countries such as Germany and France testing the product.