Ziggy Sommers

14 Jan Ziggy Sommers

Where did I go and what did I do:

“I secured a year placement at Apex Circuit Design Ltd. Here the main role was to consult and design racing circuits for worldwide organisations, not build the cars or gadgets, but design the actual circuit that all the companies will use to test their products.”

How I secured the role:

“I found the role through an e-mail sent to all engineers, including me, on the webmail mailing list.”

“Despite the joy of actually having a hand at designing the race circuits that our favoured racing drivers and manufacturers use, if I recall, only about 19 engineers applied for the position out of a possible 200+! I’ve forgotten to mention, the e-mail for the position was sent very early on into the second year of study; most students were contemplating if a placement was viable for them. I would say you should know by the time you start second year whether or not to go on placement.”

“Anyhow, I applied for the position by sending in my CV. I was one of 6 that was shortlisted to complete an assignment before Christmas (like there is not enough work to do before and after Christmas), in order to get through to the next stage. I handed in the assignment and voila, I was shortlisted with the same five others, most, but not all of them on the same course as me. I knew two of them very well and felt excited about the competition among us. To cut a long story short, Apex had reviewed my assignment in the interview, had seemed to like me, and a few days later I got a call from the Placement and Careers Centre stating that I had secured the placement.”

What the role included:

“There was more to the position than designing. If you looked at my course I was a Mechanical Engineer, studying Automotive Design; I did not see ‘Design Engineer with Circuit Design’ as my degree course name. That is just the way it goes sometimes. Despite the fact that you are on a course to whatever you think you may want to become, as long as you are determined and remember what your main goal is, you’ll get there in the end despite taking a longer route.”

“At Apex I had to use Adobe InDesign; if you have not used it yet I would recommend you invest in this software over the one you use (and you know which Word document software I am writing about!) It is an amazing tool that aids in creating documents. We used a very complicated piece of Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) software to design our circuits amongst other bits and bobs to get the job done.”

Interesting projects I was involved with:

“I had planned to go on holiday to Jamaica 2 weeks after starting working at Apex. I still had the job, and ironically my holiday turned into a workaday. Did you know that Jamaica has a racing circuit called Dover Raceway? I did not have a clue and Apex had no information on the site other than that it was exciting. So, what was my job? Getting as many pictures as I could and procuring site information and financial information on the circuit. Was it dull? Absolutely not! It was an amazing holiday, despite the travel to the circuit. To feel that ‘I was the company’ and there was no one to tell me how to present myself was very rewarding. I became Apex Circuit Design Ltd during my time in Jamaica and was proud to bring back the information for them.”

“I also worked on the design for a street circuit for Perth, Australia. Only last year I travelled there and felt like I knew the area very well. Due to the amount of knowledge I had of the site, being informed by Apex that I had this role made me feel quite important.”

What you will learn

“You will learn a lot on placement, even when doing tedious work. Even if that is doing the hot drinks round for staff as you’ll see people at their workstation and have a sense of who they are and what they drink. Times like that will give you a more comfortable chance to stand back and watch how a work place functions as one unit.”

“For me, I will take with me all the software training and skills that I developed. The speech presentation training and track day testing will also be under my belt and will aid me to interact and feel comfortable when around other professional persons, feeling imbroglio amongst conversations using diffluent vocabulary. Always be yourself during and after an interview. When you are on placement just be honest about your incapability and never assume you can do it all without help.”