Year in Industry

My Year in Industry

I decided I wanted to take a year out a year or two before I got the chance. I had already applied for University by the time I spotted a poster advertising The Year in Industry. The organization was set up to match promising students to interesting companies to give the students a chance to do some meaningful work experience and give the companies the opportunity to hire a bright young spark fairly cheap. The organization has bases in each region of the country and keeps an up-to-date record of all interested companies along with a database of students. They link up suitable students and companies by sending student's CVs to potential employers and arranging interviews with them.

The Year in Industry

My host company, Pera

I had been intrigued by Pera Innovation in Melton Mowbray, only a short journey from where I live, so I rang them directly as well as approaching them through the Year in Industry. Fortunately I knew someone at church who worked for them, and he suceeded in chasing them up before I had been bagged by another company. I had already had an interview at KP Foods, and was distinctly unimpressed. They could at least have offered me some free crisps, but all I got was a warm, unflavoured, single, solitary Skip from the production line as I walked past! (see my Skips Jarr advert and instructions)

Finally I got an interview with Pera, and by the time I got home, I had an email offering me the job. I started at the beginning of August, just before getting my exam results, which, fortunately, were pretty good. I also surprised the team I was to work with by, the very next week after my interview, joining my brother in a protest sitting outside the council offices just over the road. It was the day they began the war on Iraq.

I have been involved in a number of projects at Pera, and you can see examples of some of my work by following the links below. I have also been a part of the BestMaths program offered by Loughborough University which provides teaching and testing material for the entire maths content of the first year of an engineering degree. I have recently finished the course, which was a distance learning based program and relied on tests done on computer and uploaded to their server which gave results immediately.

I've also been working towards a CMI (Chartered Management Institute) qualification by submitting an essay now and then throughout the year. The course was kicked off with 2 weeks of intensive team building and talks on such mundane subjects as excellence and sucess.

These are summary sheets of the projects I've been involved in at Pera.  Most are large-scale research and development projects that go on for 2 or 3 years, but I've also done some prototype building on tight schedules, which is fun.  I haven't included the Branston Pickle dispenser that blew up...

WREED - A method for drying food waste using superheated steam
E-FLEX - A system for increasing the efficiency of urban home delivery
MEDICASE - A concept for improving the shipping of sensitive medical supplies
SMED - A prototype to demonstrate rapid changeover time

I entered the last project listed, SMED, into the EEF Contribution to the Business Award competition. I had to write a report, and then I was shortlisted to give a short presentation to a panel of judges. I got through to the regional finals, and was one of six people to give another presentation with a question and answer session in early July, although I didn't win.  

Report - This is the report I initially submitted (with strict word limits) along with a statement from my boss.
Presentation - The final presentation for judging.  About 4.5Mb, but the photos and diagrams to help to make the concept a bit easier to understand.

I still have no idea what I'm going to do with myself after University, but no doubt something will turn up. I am currently trying my hand at a bit of teaching.  

For want of a better place to put this link, I'm including it here - it's a piece of physics coursework I did on Damped Simple Harmonic Motion.

And more in line with the theme of the page, I did an essay on memory for a Daily Telegraph competition, Science Writer.  I submitted it via their website, but it didn’t work, and I didn't find out until after the deadline.  Ah, well.  Here it is for the world to see and marvel at:

Remember, remember...