Engineering student Zak Derbyshire opted to specialise in electronic engineering in the second year of his qualification after realising that not as many people follow this route and that it would lead to better job opportunities in the future.
And, what’s more, a robot assembly process that he developed in a project with Jaguar Land Rover, so impressed the company that they have adopted it as part of their assessment scheme for engineering apprentices.
Zak, who is studying for the two-year Level 3 diploma in electrical/electronic engineering at the college’s Paget Road campus, said: “Lots of people studying engineering go into the manufacturing or mechanical side of the industry and I realised that if I specialised in electronics that there would be more opportunities available in the future.
“We’re learning how to code circuits and, whilst I had some basic knowledge from school, the course is far more advanced and goes into greater detail meaning that I am developing indepth knowledge of this specific area and it’s a great foundation to build on.
“As part of the course we worked on a project with Jaguar Land Rover to develop an assembly process for a small robotic car which they would then use to assess their engineering apprentices. We were given 45 minutes for the task and I completed it in 30 minutes and was selected to present my process to managers from the company – I felt very proud to be representing the college and when they said that they were going to adopt my process, it was a big moment for me.
“When I joined the college I was very quiet and didn’t know anyone, but being part of a friendship group with people who have the same interests as me has really helped me to adapt to college life.
“And the tutors are helpful too, and if there’s anything I’m unsure of will help me to work through it – it’s a much better learning environment than school.”
When he completes his course, Zak hopes to work in telecoms engineering and is considering an apprenticeship in the sector to enable him to combine working for an employer with continuing to study for industry-recognised qualifications.