Adrian – YINI student New

Adrian Schmieder is an undergraduate student studying Aeronautical engineering at the University of Southampton. Adrian has just completed his Year in Industry placement with Ingimex Ltd UK where he has been developing a process to enable easier access for employees for panel assembly by developing an assembly table with a tilting top.

Adrian won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s prize for innovation in 2012 for his work, and speaks below about his work on the project and how it will help him in his future career.

Which post-16 qualifications did you study?

I took AS Levels in Physics, Maths, French, Music and Critical Thinking. I then continued with Physics, Maths and French for my A-levels. I then went to University to study an Undergraduate degree in Aeronautical engineering which I have now completed three out of the four years of my masters course.

What motivated you to apply for a placement?

As I was coming to the end of my third year of studying engineering, I felt like I needed a change of scene before my final year. A placement was perfect for this as I knew it would give me some practical experience in the field in which I want to work and help with my employability once I graduate university.

What did your typical day whilst on your placement involve?

One of the reasons I enjoyed my placement so much was that my days were so varied. I would move from designing components in a CAD package to sending their drawings to suppliers for manufacture. I may then end up on the shop floor building a prototype box van or assembling various jigs I had designed; followed by using our aluminium saws to manufacture new components.

What were you most proud of during your placement?

I am most proud of the impact the project I worked on is having on Ingimex as a company. The new box van is allowing Ingimex to widen its customer base, reduce customer lead times and reduce purchase costs. It is great to have been given a large amount of responsibility and autonomy and be able to prove that I could handle this.

What was the best and worst thing about the experience?

I found the best thing about my year in industry to be the fact I had time outside of work to rediscover some of my hobbies. In the evenings I was able to both join a choir and become an assistant leader at a local scout group as I was able to leave my work at the office at the end of each day.

One of the worst things has to have been the daily struggle to get into work for a 0700h start. Never having been an early riser, this continued to be a struggle throughout the year!

Did your experiences whilst on your placement change your career ambitions?

Even though I’m studying aeronautical engineering, this year has shown me that I’m more interested in working in the automotive industry once I graduate. Thankfully I have been able to change my module choices for my final year to some which are more appropriate and will hopefully lead into the automotive industry. This year out has also shown me that the engineering challenges faced by the well known, large companies are the same as those faced by the smaller engineering companies and hence the companies to which I apply for a graduate job may be different now I have had a year in industry.

What made you decide to go on to study at university?

My three older sisters were already at university when I came to apply and it seemed to be a natural progression in my studies after A levels. Thankfully my interest in physics and maths lead naturally into studying engineering, which is not only a challenging and demanding degree course, but also one that leads very well into a secure and rewarding career at the end of the degree.

What skills will you take from your placement into university?

There are many skills I will take forward into my final year at university but one main skill comes to mind, that of working well in a team. My final year mark relies heavily on a group design project and to be successful in this, our group is going to have to work well as a team. Hopefully my experiences at Ingimex will help with this.

If you could pass on some advice to future students who are given similar opportunities for work placements what would you say to them?

I would advise future students to make the most of the opportunities given to them and I would suggest moving away from home for the year. It may not be the cheapest and best way to try and save money, but it will get you ready for student life. You will have to learn to live with other people, cook and how to deal with paying bills. On top of this, it’s a great way to see if you really want to go to university and will confirm that you are happy with your choice of degree.

What did you dream of doing when you were growing up and how has that changed?

I can’t remember ever having a specific career in mind when I grew up. Perhaps I knew better what I didn’t want to be. I seem to have just followed Mum’s advice of choosing to study the subjects I enjoy the most and letting that lead into a career I will enjoy.

What do you like to do in your free time when you are not working or studying?

Getting my hands dirty and doing something physical. I’m sat behind a desk for at lot of my time at work and while studying, so I like to be able to do something different. To this end I’ve been restoring a 1963 Morris Minor 1000 and helping friends with their car projects during the weekends.

And finally…looking back over the choices you have made and the opportunities that have been available to you so far regarding your education, would you have done anything differently?

Thankfully my mother’s advice seems to have worked out so far. I’ve really enjoyed rising to the challenging workload of an engineering degree, and being able to put theory into practice during my placement year has been great. So no, I don’t think I would have done anything differently.


To find out more about the Year in Industry scheme run by the Engineering & Development Trust (EDT) please click here.