Author: Joseph -
Hi there, my name is Joseph, and this is my third blog post in which I will try to give you an impression of what it’s like to be on the EIP scheme as part of my undergraduate degree in Integrated Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IMEE). If you are not up to date, the EIP scheme runs in parallel with the group business design project (GBDP) in the second semester of our third year of study at the University. A group of 14 EIP students have been shipped back into the world of work and I am fortunate enough to be working at Rolls-Royce in Bristol. In my initial blog posts (one and two ) I gave insight into the induction stages of working for a big, international company like Rolls-Royce and explained what the first steps were for me; identifying the scope of my project, project planning, initial tech reviews and the amazing Bath Engineering Design Exhibition. I am now well into the final month of work at Rolls-Royce and I am at a stage where I can describe to you how I went about actioning everything I planned to do and how I am preparing for final submission and presentation.
Following a very comprehensive literature review, which I talked about in my second blog post, I felt well equipped to begin actioning the long list of work identified by myself and my supervisor. Perhaps this is one of the biggest factors that sets the EIP scheme apart from the GBDP which my peers have now completed. EIP students are lucky to be able to seek professional direction whenever appropriate and, as you would expect, supervisors have often been working within specific subject areas for a long period of time and can provide expert advice instantly. This is an incredibly valuable resource; five minutes spent talking to my supervisor at work feels equivalent to five days spent in the library.
Modelling in MATLAB Simulink
Towards the end of my project my supervisor suggested that I carry out a portion of my work in the MATLAB Simulink environment. To begin with I was very wary of using Simulink for systems modelling, as I was aware of the time constraints imposed by the short placement and did not believe that I would be able to learn the software in time for submission, given that I had no prior experience at all. Nevertheless, I began using Simulink and thankfully, I feel that my efforts have been rewarded with a result suitable for discussion in my final submission. Pleasingly, I have been led to believe that the models I have constructed are novel to the company and that it is likely people will be able to build upon the platform I have created.
Collating my report
Given the nature of the final submission to the University of Bath; an 8000-word report, I was sure to allocate sufficient time to write up all aspects of my project as succinctly as possible – 8000 words is not that many! As you can imagine, over the course of just 4 months I have learned so much and it was excruciatingly difficult to try and cut this down such that it fits, coherently, within the 8000-word limit. Again, industrial supervision at this stage proved invaluable as my supervisor was able to review and revise my section headings (and the results from my model) before I began work on the final report. As they say, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
You may be wondering why I have been pushed to finish the final report (due in August) so early in the month of July – after all this is an industrial project and not a piece of University work often completed in a few days of intense working. Moreover, you may recall that Rolls-Royce Bristol is a Defence site and as such the release of all work completed inside must undergo rigorous review before it can be shared with the wider world; a ~4 week process in itself.
It's not over yet
In summary, while completing my final report in preparation for internal review (before release to university), I am very happy to have learned my way around MATLAB Simulink. Moreover, I have been able to exploit an enormous wealth of experience, tips and guidance via my supervisor at work and this has instilled confidence in my method and reporting that I would not have had if I had been working elsewhere. This said, I recognise that my job is not yet finished, I have a scary final presentation to prepare for and numerous hand over documents to prepare ready for my departure from the office in just one month, but more on that next time.