Engineering students make it happen at Vauxhall Motors
30 March 2011
LJMU students Alan Molloy and Christopher Williams are making a real name for themselves on their year-long placement at Vauxhall Motors after drawing special praise for their efforts from the car giant's Managing Director and the UK HR Director of parent company General Motors.
The MEng Mechanical Engineering students, working as Body Shop Undergraduate Engineer and Press Shop Undergraduate Engineer respectively, are in the middle of their placement year gaining invaluable world of work experience with real responsibilities in a real job role.
As part of their roles they were offered the chance to take part in ‘Make it Happen’ area at Skills NorthWest, the largest skills and careers exhibition in the region, which took place at the Bolton Arena. ‘Make it Happen’, organised through the Manufacturing Institute, is aimed at 14 to 19 year olds to encourage young people to pursue careers within UK manufacturing and highlight possible career options.
Talking about ‘Make it Happen’ Alan said:
"The event took place over two days with Chris and I being the only two undergraduates present on both days. There were many different companies in attendance in the manufacturing area; however the Vauxhall stand was the most visited in the whole exhibition due to what we had on offer. To give a good representation of what goes on in our industry we took along a robot that we had programmed to do intricate movements and show its flexibility, as well as the brand new Astra Sports Tourer for people to see. Six undergraduates attended each day to share experiences and career advice.
We designed a game called ‘The Vauxhall Speedway’ in which the children were given the task of designing, building and racing a car using ‘K’nex’ in the fastest possible time, with the prize being a signed England Football Shirt. We also had a game of ‘Race the Robot’ - the idea was to use a metal probe and follow the outline of a car without touching the sides and setting off the alarm. Both of these games were constantly in use and proved to be possibly the most popular features on both days".
Alan and Chris were in charge of preparing the robot for the day, building a cell for it to be housed in that would pass health and safety regulations, programming the robot to do what was needed, transporting it to and from the venue, setting it up once it reached the destination as well as being involved with the ‘Vauxhall Speedway’ set-up and planning.
"It was very challenging as we only had roughly 3 weeks to do all the planning and preparation for the whole event by the time we were given the green light to go ahead with the project. Once we were at the event it was very much a group effort between us all, in manning the games and speaking to children, parents and teachers, handing out goodie bags etc, however it was a great experience to be heavily involved in such an important event. We have learned a great deal, from both an engineering and project management perspective".
"We are very proud of our achievements and we received special praise from both the HR Director of the UK for GM and also the Vauxhall Managing Director for the UK, who was equally impressed that we managed to stay under budget for the project too".