Speak Out for Engineering award winner: 2 years on

The Speak Out for Engineering award is a competition to celebrate young pioneers and innovators in the industry. The competition is held every year by IMechE and gives engineers an excellent opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills to a panel of judges for the chance to win the award and a cash prize.

We caught up with past winner, Rasan Chandra. A Masters Graduate in Engineering, he won the award in 2016, and we want to know how the award opened doors for him.

About Rasan

Where do you work and what do you do? What’s your employment and educational background?
I currently work for British Sugar as an Engineering Graduate. I completed a MEng Mechanical Engineering in July 2016 and started as an Engineering Graduate at British Sugar in September 2016. My course included a year in industry, and I completed a placement year with AB Sugar.

As a graduate, I learned the sugar manufacturing process from a chemical engineering perspective while working on shifts at the factory and gained experience as a Shift Performance Manager. Additionally, I have undertaken various roles within the Maintenance Process team, including the Mechanical Team Manager role, and am now based within the Combined Heat & Power team.

How did you get into this industry?

Through my one-year placement with AB Sugar, I was able to secure the graduate job with British Sugar and have been in this industry ever since.

What makes a career in Engineering exciting for you?

Being in engineering, and especially in operations, no two days are the same. It is fast-paced, dynamic and I am challenged on a daily basis to ensure operations run as efficiently as possible. Additionally, as an engineer, I feel a diverse range of skills is needed; hence I feel more versatile.

Speak Out for Engineering

Take us through the Speak out for Engineering process (how did you enter, what did you present to the panel, shortlisting?)
I first received an email from IMechE about the competition during my final year at University and felt this was an excellent opportunity to talk about an individual project and practice my viva early on. My supervisor encouraged this, and I prepared a theory-based presentation as I was still in my early stages of the project. I came in second place during the South Yorkshire Heat which then took me to the final. As the final took place in April, I made progress with my project and implemented these changes to the presentation and eventually won the Regional Final.

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How did you feel when you won the award?

I was a little surprised as the quality of the presentations in the final were very high, though I was ecstatic at the same time (I couldn’t stop smiling!).

After you won, did job offers flood through?

They didn’t flood through, though I did receive numerous messages in LinkedIn enquiring about my graduate job status and if I would consider taking up more direct-entry roles.

How has the Speak out award changed your career?

I wouldn’t say it changed my career, though it gave it a significant boost. Additionally, it helped to highlight one of my strengths which is public speaking.

Would you recommend young people like yourself to apply?

I couldn’t recommend it enough as there are countless benefits to it. As young, budding engineers, you get to test your public speaking skills, practice for your viva and network to potentially land a graduate job. What have you got to lose?!

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The future 

What are you hoping to achieve in the next 5-10 years of your career?

I aim to gain more experience within operations and then move onto more management and senior management positions, which will allow me to apply my technical knowledge in leadership roles.

What would you like to see in the future of Engineering and are there any changes you want to see in the industry?

Engineering has come a long way since I started, and it will continue to develop at a phenomenal pace in the years to come. There is an ever-growing demand for engineers, and it seems the focus is starting to shift towards the digital world. I feel we are currently living in the future with the current level of technology. However, I would like to see the full implementation of Artificial Intelligence into more machines, and how engineers will play a role in this.

Looking back, is there anything you would change about your career path or any advice about getting into Engineering you can give to our readers?

Looking back, there will always be times where I feel I could have made different decisions along the way. However, I will never regret or change anything in the past because those decisions have got me to where I am, and I am delighted with my current position. Going into Engineering was the best decision as it not only taught me to think technically, it also gave me a diverse range of skills which I feel are crucial for both my personal and professional life.

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