September 30, 2022
Fresh out of college, a day after his 18th birthday, Jack joined Cosworth as an apprentice to pursue a career in engineering. It was his first job after finishing his A Levels, but he’s been here ever since, with two promotions and a pending Higher National Diploma under his belt.
How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
For years, I was surrounded by engines and anything with wheels because my uncle competed in motocross events and would take me to races at Polesworth track. We’d work on the bikes at home, so I guess that’s where the interest in motorsport started for me. I learned a lot from my uncle, and he noticed that I enjoyed the mechanical side of things. He was right.
Was it difficult to choose an apprenticeship over university?
When it came to making my choices at school, my uncle told me that I needed to learn a trade or go to university. I was quite torn but staying in education didn’t interest me as much as getting stuck into cars, so I decided to go down the apprenticeship route. When I looked into engineering apprenticeships, I discovered I would need a BTEC in engineering, so I dropped English Literature and Psychology. It was a big decision but an easy one, because I knew it was necessary for my end goal.
What made you choose Cosworth?
I applied for engineering apprenticeships across a range of industries and companies, but in the end, it boiled down to two offers; one was in the aerospace industry and the other was Cosworth. It was a tough decision but the petrol head in me naturally leant towards Cosworth and I enjoyed my time at the open day when I visited. Before that, I’d only ever seen engines being tested on a rolling road, so it was cool to watch a dyno (dynamometer) test with the team. I also knew a lot about the history of Cosworth and wanted to be a part of it.
Describe the engineering apprenticeship at Cosworth.
Really flexible. I was able to spend time in different departments to really understand where I wanted to fit inside the business. I moved from electronics to testing and then to the build shop, with three months in each. I ended up going back to the dynos though, where all the noise is!
The apprenticeship was three years long and I became a Junior Test Technician when it had finished. I’ve since progressed to be a Test Technician, so the career development is good. A colleague, who joined as an apprentice at the same time as me, has also found a full-time position here, so it’s nice to have been able to move up the company together.
What is it like being a Test Technician?
Each day is varied. I can start the day running one engine and by the afternoon we’ve swapped to something even cooler. Testing is an essential part of the manufacturing process and it’s great to know that my work is important. A very quick way to explain my job is that I test engines with a dyno and computer to make sure they’re safe and meeting expectations. Whether that’s for durability, power, or signing off. If we’re running a power curve test, we’re pushing the engine to its absolute limits to see what it can do, which means lots of noise and crazy amounts of horsepower. So, if you’re also a petrol head – my job is perfect for you. Each engine needs to pass our testing process before being sent back to the client and if it fails, I use the data we’ve extracted from the dyno to figure out why it hasn’t passed.
What’s the best engine you’ve worked on so far?
There’s too many to choose from but the one which sticks out in my memory was a 999cc world superbike engine which we had in for a short project. We don’t get to see many of those!
Give us your top recommendations for someone getting into engineering.
Think about which aspect of engineering interests you the most and look into roles which relate to that. For example, maybe you prefer working with electronics or computers. If you get stuck, try and ask yourself if you could imagine working in that field or role every day, because you’ve got to love what you do.
Another thing I would recommend is to study for an engineering diploma. It’s hard work but once you’ve got it – the world’s your oyster!
Why should someone choose Cosworth?
Cosworth is more like a family than a workplace, which is a hard culture to find. There’s great opportunities to travel and work on exclusive projects, for example, last year I tested high performance marine engines in a secret UK location. In my day-to-day I also hear engines firing up which people don’t even know exist. The workload is varied and challenging but the high standard of engineering keeps me on my toes and, most importantly, we’re all proud to be here.
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