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Amna Jelani

BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering
Placement with Chinook Science Services, Nottingham (May 2016 – July 2017)

Amna Jelani

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford?  What was your first impression of the university and the city and what did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

I came to Bradford through clearing as I was unsuccessful into getting my firm choice. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Moving out was big step for me, especially moving to a city I had never been to. On my first day, I explored the university grounds and was pleased to find it was a decent campus with a big Student Central and Library; there is also another campus which gives you a change of scenery.

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about the course?

In my first year, I was doing Medical Engineering; I enjoyed this course as it had a few modules which were biology related, however, I felt that this wasn’t the right course for me and was lucky enough to be able to transfer to Mechanical Engineering.  I feel like I have gained a better appreciation of engineering and the opportunities it can give through this course.  I enjoy the practical labs the most where we actually design and have an insight into the kind of work we will be doing once we graduate.

What tips would you give to prospective students about the course at the University of Bradford and the university itself?

Put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to go join a society or volunteer. Remember, especially if you will be living away from home, you will have a lot of time on your hands, so use it wisely. This is your time to let yourself grow and acquire as much knowledge and experiences as possible.  Take advantage of the university’s services such as the Career Development Services which give you amazing advice and guidance. Talk to your lecturers and don’t be afraid to ask them questions! It’s a competitive world out there; try to make yourself stand out with your experiences.

What support have you received from Career Development Services / Placement Staff?

The Career Development Services helped me create a CV and cover letter which was to a high standard which I was able to tailor further for individual companies.  Career Development Advisers will give you guidance but you are required to put in your own effort – as is with everything in life! I received advice continuously from the amazing staff who pushed us to apply for more placements.   

We had slots on our timetables which were just for lectures on pre-placement sessions which provided a thorough in-depth detail on how to prepare for interviews and psychometric tests, etc.  We also had employer representatives from companies such as GM Vauxhall, London Underground and Network Rail.

What action are you taking to improve your employability whilst at University?

I am an active member of a society and volunteer to help whenever I am needed. I have secured a placement for a year which will allow to me gain experience in the work environment related to my degree which should increase my employability. 

What advice would you give to your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?

Apply as early as possible, talk to Career Development Services about potential employers especially if you don’t know where to begin from.  Talk to your lecturers about the types of fields you can go into and about companies as they may know about companies that don’t advertise as much. I would even say to talk to family members and friends who work in the companies to see if they know of any potential vacancies or other employers.

Don’t be disheartened if you get a rejection, remember you are competing with hundreds of students just like yourself but don’t let it put you off.  Keep applying to big competitive companies and believe in yourself. Try to apply to at least two placements during a week and don’t stop until the following September, you never know when the right employer finds you.  Apply to 12 month and 6 month placements, or even less; any experience is better than nothing. Don't give up!

Tell us about your current placement (include brief responsibilities)

My responsibilities will consist of using CAD software to design and also model using Solid Edge. The latter is very similar to Solid Works that I learnt how to use at university.

How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the University of Bradford?

I hope that this placement will give me greater insight and knowledge to what engineering is like in the real world which I can apply to in my final year.  I hope that after being on placement I will be more organised and help me manage my time more effectively and efficiently.