Students working together round a table

Sustainable Technology and Engineering Projects lab helped engineering graduates gain jobs

Alice and Emmanuel tell us about their experience of the Sustainable Technology and Engineering Projects (STEP) lab and how it helped them get jobs before graduating.

The STEP lab was launched in 2020, as a platform for all engineering students to gain additional experience of working in multi-disciplinary real-world environment. 

Alice’s experience

I joined the STEP Lab as a third-year mechanical engineering student for my final year project. I found the experience un-paralleled in how useful it was at providing insight into what being part of a working engineering environment can look like.  

Within the STEP Lab there are ample opportunities for both individual and team-working, allowing the skillsets required for both to be developed during a project’s duration. The fact that the STEP Lab is multidisciplinary in terms of both students involved and the projects being run within the Lab, this allowed me to explore what aspects of engineering best suited me and what areas I was most interested in.  

Working within the Lab gave me ownership and responsibility of my own work and effort which really encouraged my focus and commitment to the project. The online shared OneDrive folder was invaluable throughout my project, the wealth of useful knowledge and support resources specified to my project, along with general resources used to learn about other projects.  

I’d say one of the most beneficial aspects of the Lab is the sense of community between the students and lecturers. A combination of regular meetings and social events encourages conversations within the Lab discussing the different projects which is helpful for developing knowledge and feeling supported throughout.  

Emmanuel’s experience

For me, the STEP Lab came at the perfect time. During the third year of my degree, I found out about the STEP Lab initiative, and this led to me transferring from a BEng to an MEng program. I was fortunate to benefit from the paid placement over the summer which meant I could learn and gain financial support at the same time.  

The students lead activities which means all members of the team take up responsibility early into the project. Working as a team regardless of the year of study means all members are exposed to different disciplines. All individuals are valued for the skills they offer or the willingness to learn. This prepares us for work in industry.  

The STEP Lab prepared me for my masters and exposed me to a range of equipment and software I hadn’t used during my studies. Because of the additional skills and knowledge obtained from the lab, I was accepted to the first graduate job I applied for in Research and Development prior to the completion of my degree.  

Today I reflect on this unforgettable experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity. It motivates me to carry on and present new opportunities such as job openings to students who are currently going through the same process I did less than a year ago. 

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