FISITA is dedicated to supporting the next generation of mobility engineers and facilitating lifelong learning for all engineers. As part of this initiative we deliver a Student Opportunities Programme at every event each year, whether it's physical or virtual.
We caught up recently with Daniel Mwangi who joined us at EuroBrake 2019 as part of the EuroBrake Student Opportunities Programme (ESOP) to hear about the support Daniel received during and after the event, and how these positive experiences have helped his motivation to join the international mobility industry.
Daniel is currently pursuing a master's degree in Advanced Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield University.
1. You were selected to attend ESOP. How did that experience help your aspirations for studying engineering and entering the mobility industry?
Attending the EuroBrake conference in Dresden was an eye-opening experience that fuelled my interest in the mobility industry. I was given the opportunity to participate in presentations led by high-level field experts and network and converse with other researchers.
Initially, I had not fully comprehended how diverse the braking technology sector is; however, this conference gave me a shake to the endless possibilities as my synapses were fired with new information and ideas. I left the conference feeling engaged and brimming with ideas to take back to the office and discuss with my colleagues and managers.
2. How has your involvement with FISITA helped you make contacts and network?
While at EuroBrake, I was able to engage in meaningful conversation with people coming from all walks of life but bound together in their passion for the mobility industry. The more people I talked to, the more I learned about the various opportunities available and career progression within the industry as a younger engineer.
I have also been able to keep in touch with some of the students I networked with. In fact, one of the friend's I had made during the conference came to visit me in England a year later, having come from Australia.
3. At the moment, what do you see as the key challenges and opportunities for students keen to enter the mobility industry?
One of the major challenges facing students keen on entering the mobility industry is information failure. I believe that many graduates are not aware of the vast employment opportunities within small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they are not advertised as openly as large organisations. Furthermore, SMEs also tend to overlook graduates due to their lack of work experience and costs associated with recruitment, training and supervision.
Despite the challenges, there are numerous opportunities for students keen to enter the mobility industry and one method is being proactive, building a network and leveraging it. This can include contacting different organisations during events such as ESOP and showing initial interest. Alternatively, students can also seek advice from reputable and specialist recruiters who have experience in the mobility industry through social networks such as LinkedIn.
Networking is not only limited to physical conferences, especially since the global shift to a virtual workplace following the recent pandemic. Improving your online presence has become increasingly important as employers do look at potential candidates through social media channels to gauge whether they would be a good fit for the job/company.
4. In three words, how would you describe the mobility engineering industry?
Electrified, autonomous and connected.
5. How was your work/studies been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? (did you work from home/remotely, did your projects and outcomes change etc.?)
Once England went into lockdown in March 2020, all of my classes were moved online. Fortunately, I was nearly done with my undergraduate degree and all that remained was to complete my final year project alongside a few exams and assignments. Therefore, I was not adversely affected by the first lockdown and spent most of my time studying. I graduated with first-class honours in BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, which allowed me to pursue a master's degree in Advanced Mechanical Engineering.
Since beginning as a postgraduate, most of my degree has been online; therefore, I have not had the opportunity to interact with my classmates and lecturers in person. However, this has not deterred me from achieving my goals and I remain motivated to succeed. The hard work and effort I have put in so far has been paying off as I have achieved distinctions in all of my assignments.
Working effectively, both independently and interdependently, are skills I learned during my placement year and have used to my advantage to ensure I remain focused while studying from home. I intend to continue pushing myself as I strive to improve and hopefully graduate with a distinction.
To find out about EuroBrake 2021, please visit https://www.fisita.com/events/eurobrake/2021/about.