There’s never been a more exciting time to pursue a career in the automotive industry with every year bringing fresh developments and new technology innovations.
From the development of driverless cars and the boom in electric vehicles, to the rise of automotive cybersecurity, and the implementation of cutting-edge technology such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the industry is undergoing change at a rapid rate and HORIBA MIRA is at the forefront, ensuring vehicles of the future are safer, cleaner and smarter.
But despite the hugely exciting rate of change within the industry, there are headwinds and none other as strong as the impact of the coronavirus which has led to one of the toughest job markets in years. Throughout what has been an incredibly challenging year, HORIBA MIRA has remained steadfast in its approach to ensuring business continues where safe to do so in all areas, including within recruitment.
“Enrolment into our key growth areas was, and still is, a priority for us”, said Julian Webber, HORIBA MIRA’s Talent Management Lead. “Despite all of the challenges thrown our way last year, we wanted to maintain our momentum of recruiting. The industry is progressing at a rapid rate and so too is the need for specialist skills – strong investment in developing suitable candidates for future careers is essential so that we can continuously develop the skills pipeline for our important growth areas such as electrification, unmanned ground vehicles and connected and automated mobility.”
Ordinarily the HORIBA MIRA graduate scheme sees successful entrants embark upon a two-year rotational scheme, where they rotate through the business building experience across different areas. However, the 2020 cohort have been recruited directly into disciplines that reflect the future growth areas of the company as the business narrows and deepens its capabilities. Here, three of HORIBA MIRA’s 2020 graduates share their stories:
Michael Orgill (MSci Theoretical Physics), joined the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) team
After completing an integrated MSci in Theoretical Physics at the University of Birmingham, Michael joined HORIBA MIRA as a graduate with the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) team in October.
“In the summer of 2019 I was fortunate to do a 10-week internship in HORIBA MIRA’s CAV department. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to focus my career at this stage but I had an initial attraction towards the automotive industry as there are novel challenges to solve – I can’t think of anything more revolutionary than CAV within automotive, it really fits the bill!
“After thoroughly enjoying my internship, I applied for the graduate role in January last year. Our assessment centre was planned for March, but the coronavirus situation was evolving rapidly and the team did an amazing job to switch the whole process online. When I found out I’d been successful I was elated – it’s a challenging job market at the moment so to be offered a career opportunity with long-term prospects was a real achievement.”
Within the CAV team Michael is supporting VeriCAV, a collaborative research project that is exploring how simulated environments can support the development of self-driving technology.
“I’m working within a young, progressive team on the VeriCAV project and my role has been primarily to research, understand and digest the latest algorithms coming out of universities and other industry groups. It’s truly fascinating work and a pleasure to be part of a team working at the forefront of the CAV industry.
“It really feels like the right place, right time for me: as HORIBA MIRA’s outstanding and unparalleled ASSURED CAV ecosystem comes on-stream this year, including its newest facilities such as HIGHWAY and PARKING, the wealth of opportunities available to the business and therefore me in my early career is sublime.”
Jacob Culley (BSc Computer Science), joined the Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) team
Jacob graduated from Oxford Brookes with a degree in Computer Science last year and was no stranger to HORIBA MIRA, having been a part of his university’s autonomous vehicle Formula Student team.
“Just over 18 months ago I visited HORIBA MIRA for the first time as part of a Formula Student test day and I loved the atmosphere on site – there was a great buzz about the place. Whilst the proving ground and test facilities were impressive, I was particularly inspired by many of MIRA’s expert engineers who we met during the day.
“During my job search I’d seen a few roles advertised and decided to apply although I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to focus on at this stage. I found out in the summer that I’d been successful and was offered a role on the graduate scheme – this really felt like an achievement given how tough the job market is at the moment.”
Jacob was offered a role in the Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) group working in the software team. It is the first time HORIBA MIRA has opened a graduate role within its UGV department.
“The UGV department is a fascinating sector to work in primarily because we’re still in the early stages of a lot of research within this industry, which means there’s always something new to learn. One of my projects currently is for a customer in the defence sector where we’re looking at using machine learning to protect vehicles and people.
“I’m really enjoying the role so far. Starting a new job virtually was a new experience for me but it’s been great, the team have been so welcoming, and I’ve been able to get stuck into projects straight away.”
Alex Jackson (MEng Automotive Engineering), joined the Electromobility team
Alex graduated from Loughborough University last year with an MEng in Automotive Engineering and is now working in the Energy Efficiency department.
“HORIBA MIRA has always been somewhere I’ve wanted to work ever since I visited for a week of work experience whilst at school. The company has a reputation for its unique combination of vehicle engineering, test and development services and I was so impressed by the quality of the engineering when I visited.
“When I applied for the graduate role here, I was very interested in working on the development of electric vehicles. The growth of the hybrid and electric market isn’t slowing down and so there are many opportunities to develop technology in this field.”
As part of his role, Alex is working on developing the latest electrified powertrains for HORIBA MIRA’s customers, working on internal and customer projects to develop solutions that help ensure electric and hybrid vehicles of the future are as efficient as they can be.
“I’m really enjoying working at MIRA and being part of the team, everyone has been very inclusive, especially as we’re working from home during the lockdown. Although starting virtually has been a new experience, we’ve had some great social calls via Teams and I feel settled already. My team and manager have been incredibly supportive in teaching me the skills needed to get started on projects and I’m thoroughly enjoying getting involved so early on in my time here.”