Work Experience - Land Rover
During her work experience week in July, Lucy Walker went to Jaguar Landrover and took part in the ‘Young Women In The Know’ course that is run by the company.
It is a week long course with an aim to inform young women about engineering and women’s roles within the company. I learnt so much about both engineering and Jaguar Landrover within one week that I am looking to have a career working for them in the future.
I spent Monday to Friday with the company and during that time we travelled to three of the different plants owned by the company used in various stages of production of the luxury cars. On Monday we went to the Landrover Factory in Solihull where we were given an exclusive tour of the whole factory from the start of production to the end. We were given a tour of the painting facilities and shown the rumble strip that is used to test the Landrovers once they have been finished to make sure that nothing falls off of the cars when being driven. It was a wonderful experience to be given such an intensive view into the factory and how it functions but to also be given the opportunity to hear about the company from employees who were taking us around on the tour.
On Tuesday I did a day of work experience at Gaydon. The Jaguar Landrover site at Gaydon is not a manufacturing site but the primary place of design and testing. The concepts for the vehicles are all thought of in Gaydon, tested and then if they work are put into production at either Solihull, Castle Bromwich or their sites in Liverpool. I liked Gaydon the most because it was like walking into the future: the cars that are being designed and tested there are cars that are going to be released in 3 or 4 years time. During my day of work experience I got to test steering systems to alter the feel of the car when it is driving and learnt about the distinct feel of a Jaguar or a Landrover when steering that is intended to promote the car to potential buyers. I also learnt a lot about suspension systems and a small part of the car called dampers that control how smooth the car feels when driving. I was also allowed to have a go in the onsite driving simulator which the company use to test computer designs before making the cars into prototypes, saving the company a lot of money. I was driving a Jaguar f type on the Belgian grand prix track which allowed me to experience the feeling of driving the car and whilst it was not in my opinion 100% realistic it was great fun - like a much better version of Mario Kart. I was asked to crash the car so that the simulation ended, and found that the crash was very realistic in throwing me forward as though I was involved in a real car crash and luckily the seat belt inside the simulator was able to stop me.
The week was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering engineering as a profession in the future. It changes all perceptions of engineering as a career and shows that it can actually be quite a glamorous job driving fast, flashy cars on a daily basis. I also think the added benefit was learning about women in engineering. Being honest there were not many female employees around at all, especially when you were walking around the factories, however my time there allowed me to see that attitudes towards women in engineering are changing and Jaguar Landrover are certainly attempting to encourage more women to choose to have a career in engineering.