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Andy paves the way for DMU students with coveted work placement

Beating hundreds of applicants, Andy Walker is the first-ever De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student to secure a work placement with Siemens Magnet Technology.

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The Electrical and Electronic Engineering student landed a year-long placement with the leading manufacture of superconducting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnets, thanks to support from the Faculty of Technology’s Placements Team.

Based at the company’s Oxfordshire factory, Andy is gaining valuable insight into the company that manufactures the huge magnets found in more than 30 per cent of the MRI scanners in hospitals worldwide.

The 21-year-old from Worcester said: “Out of hundreds of applicants, just 16 of us were picked for the assessment day. After giving a presentation six of us were then asked to stay behind for an interview and I was one of only two people who got a job at the end of it.

“It was quite a relief to be chosen and it feels particularly good after going up against so many others. Not many students have the benefit of graduating with a year’s experience with arguably the largest engineering company in Europe.

“I’m really grateful for the support from the placements team. They understood what a big deal this was and wouldn’t even let me apply until my CV was perfected.”

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Almost eight months into his role as a Student Process Engineer, Andy works on the manufacturing side of the business fixing technical problems on the factory floor and finding ways to optimise processes.

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“I’m really enjoying the freedom and being treated the same as all the other manufacturing engineers. People don’t treat me like a student. They come to me for answers and I’m regarded as an expert in my area, which feels great,” said Andy.

“It’s also really interesting to be working within such a niche market. For example, it’s been fascinating learning how each magnet behaves differently and having to work within fractions of millimetres in terms of precision.”

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Eager to share some of his newfound knowledge with others, Andy helped to organise a visit for 20 students from DMU’s School of Engineering and Sustainable Development earlier this year, which comprised an hour-long lecture followed by a tour.

Reflecting on how long ago it seems since he was last at university, Andy said: “I feel like my course has prepared me with a good foundation, to the point where industry has now taken over. Everything I’m learning on this placement will be a massive help during my final year.”

With encouragement from his boss and colleagues, Andy is now considering a master’s after graduating next year.

He said: “They’ve even offered me another three-month internship to bridge the gap between finishing my degree and starting a master’s.

“It’s such a great company to work for and I would love to stay on. It’s a very strong place to start as a graduate.”

Posted on Wednesday 5th April 2017

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