Case Study: James
James is currently on his second year of an Engineering T Level specialising in Mechatronics.
What are you studying and what drove you to choose this qualification?
I am currently on my second year studying an Engineering a T level qualification specialising in Mechatronics, covering a range of Engineering theory and practical content including Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Materials, Control, Engineering Mathematics and Science, Business in Engineering, Finance in Engineering, Hydraulics and Pneumatics, Quality Management and Project Management.
After completing my GCSE`s I wanted to gain not only the theoretical knowledge behind being an engineer, but the methodologies, and philosophy towards approaching engineering problems, as well as actual hands-on experience. This led me to T Levels as they provide a greater mix of practical and theoretical knowledge/experience over traditional A levels.
How did the opportunity with Lotus come about?
In year 12, I was provided with the opportunity to sign up for an early careers support charity called Career Ready. The programme gives students the chance to meet with a career mentor monthly and sign up for internships at companies relevant to their chosen profession. I was invited to apply, which led to my first internship at Lotus during year 12 in 2023, with my second placement being a follow on from this in year 13 in 2024.
What expectations did you have for joining Lotus?
When offered an internship my initial expectations were that I was just going to be a “Coffee Intern” (An intern who is asked to just get coffee and file paperwork). This
expectation was completely shattered on my first day, with employees immediately treating me like a colleague, providing me real world engineering problems / work
carried out by employees at the company and letting me get hands on with in production components and vehicles.
What have been the highlights from your time at Lotus?
Over my first placement I was completing a wide range of different work and gained a plethora of new skills and knowledge. The entire placement has been a highlight in my own opinion, although if I had to pick out a specific thing it would be the proficiency I gained in CAD, working on the industry standard program CATIA.
What have you learnt over your time at Lotus?
During my first placement I learnt and gained experience on Engineering Drawings and CAD models pertaining to Electrical Harnesses, to carry out hands-on work on both electrical systems and vehicles using the Industry Standard automotive and aerospace CAD Software CATIA v5. I also learnt how an engineering business operates with insight into Lotus as an automotive OEM and the completion of the Electrical Vehicle Safety Training Authorisation.
How will you apply your experience in your studies?
My placement at Lotus has provided me with experience that will and has directly applied to my course. The time I’ve spent working on CATIA has allowed me to model to a much higher-level than during course projects. Lotus has provided me with a groundwork for how I should approach creating a model. The hands-on electrical work has also allowed me to better understand work given to me on electrics, electronics, and electro-pneumatics/hydraulics.
What are your future goals and career aspirations?
I’ve always held a firm interest in Engineering and physics, with my overall aspiration in life to innovate at the forefront of engineering and technological developments. This led me to aspire to work on aerospace vehicles. Lotus has provided me with a plethora of skills transferable from the automotive industry into aerospace.