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The road to becoming a Lead Engineer

The road to becoming a Lead Engineer

Imran Lulat, BEng Applied Engineering Degree Apprenticeship Graduate

Imran Lulat completed his BEng Applied Engineering Degree Apprenticeship at WMG, University of Warwick in August 2019 with Jaguar Land Rover and he currently works as a Lead Engineer within Exteriors Systems at the company. With his career progressing from strength to strength, we wanted to catch up with him to see how he was doing since graduating with us…

You won the IMechE Apprentice of the Year Award 2018, tell us more about this achievement

The institution of mechanical engineer’s (IMechE) Apprentice of the Year award recognises the achievements of their Apprentice members, and the contribution they make to the engineering sector, industry and the wider economy. I was put forward for the award by my training manager, who based this on my performance both at work and at university.

It was humbling being the recipient of the award and I think the area that helped in achieving this was my role as a STEM ambassador. I have been a STEM ambassador for over 5 years. In this role I have been privileged to teach students about engineering, manufacturing and the various avenues into engineering (including apprenticeships).

In turn, the award has given me additional recognition in my role as STEM ambassador, as I believe in the importance of giving back and helping the upcoming generation of students to fulfill their career ambitions.

How has your career progressed since completing your apprenticeship?

I completed my apprenticeship in August 2019 and now work as a Lead Engineer within Exterior Systems at Jaguar Land Rover. I am responsible for the delivery of a system (within exterior systems) from concept through to production. My job role is massively varied as I am involved in every stage of the development process; from working with the designers in the design studio through to working with the operators on the assembly line - so no 2 days are the same! I enjoy what I do and the experience I gained during my apprenticeship has proved invaluable so far and will continue to assist me in my future career.

What was it like balancing work and study on your apprenticeship?

I found it challenging at first because the apprenticeship was my first ever job and I did not know what to expect from the world of work. However, it didn’t take long finding a routine and before I knew it, balancing both work and study became the norm - I feel I also speak for my ex-fellow apprentices.

The company recognises the challenge of working and studying and for this reason they allowed us to spend a few hours every week (during work time) to focus on our revision and complete courseworks - which was really supportive of them.

Balancing work and studying improved my organisational and time management skills, both of which are valuable in and out of the workplace. I feel I wouldn't have honed these skills without my apprenticeship.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I can see myself at Jaguar Land Rover in 5 years’ time, it's a company that has been monumental in my career development, I enjoy working here and it provides many opportunities for career progression. I aim to be a chartered engineer - it's been a goal of mine since I started my career. I recently completed my 6 sigma green belt module and I aim to follow this into a 6 sigma black belt in the coming years.

What skills do you think make a good apprentice?

When applying for apprenticeships, employers are aware most applicants are students and have limited experience. However, there are skills that will help in the journey.

Willingness to learn - the learning curve is steep for apprentices and there is a lot to learn, therefore they should be willing to learn in order to accelerate their development. It is especially important to use your initiative to ask other members of staff what they do, volunteer for activities, and take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new. And when you’ve done that, apply everything you’ve learned, so you don’t forget!

Time management - as previously mentioned, it can be challenging at times to balance both work and studying, so time management skills are essential. In addition to this, finding time for leisure/relaxing is just as important - strike the right balance.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing a degree apprenticeship?

Firstly, I believe you should follow your dreams and pursue something you have a passion for – it is that passion that will drive you in succeeding at whatever it is you want to do.

A degree apprenticeship is an excellent career choice for any young person, as long as they have a strong work ethic, commitment and are willing to apply themselves. It's an opportunity to gain a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree without incurring any debts - in fact you’re getting paid to study!

The combination of work and study does force you to take a lot of responsibilty and gain a level of maturity at such a young age – but don’t let that put you off! A degree apprenticeship allows you to fast track your career path in the area that you’re interested in. This puts you in a competitive position in the workplace, especially when compared to your peers. Looking back, it was a great decision choosing to do an apprenticeship, it was definitely worth it and I would highly recommend it.

Find out more about WMG's Degree Apprenticeships here.