Over the summer students have ample time off to pursue whatever it is they wish, it could be sporting, social or work. The latter is true of one young lad from Silverstone UTC called Jack Stark who has spent the past two weeks with us here at OnePLM. Jack is currently studying for his A Levels and will be returning to complete his final year at Sixth Form, but over the two weeks with us he has been putting his engineering knowledge to the test using Solid Edge computer-aided design software.
I sat down with Jack to ask him a few questions and see what kind of experience he’s had.
Q. What subjects are you studying?
A. Maths and Physics A Levels and OCR Engineering Diploma.
Q. What do you hope to go on to after Sixth Form?
A. Ideally University. I’m not sure if I will be lucky enough to get sponsorship to study at University, but that’s something I would like so that I can incorporate work based learning alongside my academic studies. I’ve been looking at studying Mechanical Engineering, but this might be too broad because I want to specialise in Engineering Design.
Q. After University have you got any long term goals?
A. I would like to set up my own business.
Q. Let’s go back to what got you interested in engineering in the first place. Was there a specific thing or inspiration? And what motivates you about engineering?
A. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve really got in to engineering and pursued it. I wasn’t enjoying my time at another school, I then reached the end of my GCSE’s and decided to move to Silverstone UTC Sixth Form. I was recommended Silverstone UTC by a teacher and haven’t looked back since. This was because I’ve always been good at Maths and Science, added to this was the enjoyment I got from making things. I had an idea of what engineering was, but it was only after some research that I realised it wasn’t just about buildings. This gave me an insight in to what else was involved such as the design and the creation of products or solutions to problems.
The process of creation and challenge to solve is what motivates me. I use Solid Edge CAD at Silverstone UTC and have been exploring its functionality since the day I got started with it. This has allowed me to design and build two 3D printers that I’ve used to produce a number of objects.
Q. You’re nearing the end of your two weeks work experience, how would you say this has benefitted you?
A. It’s been a really good insight in to the technical side of the engineering industry. There have been challenges when looking at technical cases from customers, but I’ve been able to use the knowledge I already have for these. I’ve learned how Solid Edge CAD is applied and how it’s used by others. My school studies in engineering have enabled me to understand what it is people are talking about and wish to do regarding specifics like threads and aesthetics.
Q. Do you think this experience will help you in later life?
A. I believe so. My industry awareness has improved a lot. I think it will help me in the future when designing products or completing projects as I can use my experience to inform these.
Q. What about the development of soft skills and your character?
A. Well Silverstone UTC provide us with an environment that encourages taking responsibility for yourself. They try to mirror a work environment, so you don’t have to put your hand up to go to the toilet or anything like that. You learn to be independent and this has helped me while being here.
Q. How have you found using Solid Edge? Have you used any other CAD programs?
A. I’ve found Solid Edge very easy to use, simple and fast at doing what you want it to. I’ve used Inventor before and found that very slow in comparison. We all use Solid Edge at Silverstone UTC so I’ve had time to play around with it. I’ve designed and built two 3D printers using Solid Edge, as well as made racing car parts for the school Greenpower team (Year 11); these parts have been 3D printed. I’ve seen that other CAD software companies don’t offer free student versions, but Siemens PLM do for Solid Edge. This is a massive help for me as I can’t afford to pay for licences.
I’ve found Solid Edge very easy to use, simple and fast at doing what you want it to.
Q. Do you have any advice for others considering work experience?
A. I’d recommend that you seriously consider what it is you want to do and research it before doing work experience. I’ve come to realise it’s more about finding something you enjoy and get satisfaction from, and I’ve definitely found that in engineering over the past year!