The degree programme in Engineering Design aims to prepare and equip people to become leaders in industry, the professions and public service. In particular, the programme aims to develop students’s skills, meaning they are able to lead large scale projects by working in placements with community partners. Existing partnerships exist between the university and a range of external businesses, including Arup, DCA, Atkins, Babcock and MTC.
There are many benefits for both businesses and students in becoming part of an internship scheme. Placements give students an understanding of the excitement of real engineering and allow them to share their skills and fresh perspectives with partner businesses.

The programme aims to produce engineering graduates with the necessary foundation skills and knowledge to lead multi-disciplinary engineering design projects. Developing a culture of self-learning through challenging projects and industrial placements, which require knowledge and transferable skills beyond the taught lecture material, means that both students and industrial partners benefit from shared skills.

Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. They recently worked together with Engineering Design students and Bristol City Council investigating smart transport schemes in the city. Bristol student Anna Gasslbauer joined a team of their engineers for her placement and found it to be a very valuable experience.

“During my placement with Arup, I have been working on the structural design of a large luxury residential development. The project uses a post-tensioned concrete frame, a construction method that can greatly reduce the volume of concrete and steel used in a structure and is therefore significantly more economic and sustainable than conventional reinforced concrete. Post-tensioning is comparatively new to the UK construction industry, meaning that my in-depth experience of this type of structural design has allowed me to become an expert in an increasingly more desired skill set. Having the opportunity to be part of a real engineering team and to work on such a challenging project has been a very rewarding experience and of great value to my professional development.”

From 2012 to 2013, Arup and the Univeristy of Bristol partnered to develop a process that will assist in the production of a value case for a given Smart Scheme in a given city.

Increasing urban populations put great pressure on city resources and public services. Smart City concepts promise to alleviate many of the problems which plague cities, through the implementation of Smart practices and the creation of Smart Schemes.

In order to prioritise spending on Smart Schemes a method is required to determine the value they offer, which is something the placement students worked on. The ability to collect and use data makes a scheme ‘Smart’ – data without context is raw data, and value is gained by conversion to information products. Organisations and individuals who can access this information will gain knowledge, and creased knowledge means better decision making.

“The placements are really where Engineering Design sets itself apart from other engineering courses. In a tough job market, it can hard to stand out when everyone has a good engineering degree from a good university. It can sometimes feel like employers are saying “Okay, so you’ve got a degree, fine, but what else have you got?” The opportunity to work for engineering companies for placements is so valuable and I’d recommend everyone to do it whether you’re applying to this course or not. Engineering Design is sponsored by some of the biggest and best companies at what they do. Some of the partner companies take hundreds of applications for internships, but if you’re on the Engineering Design course, you already have a foot in the door. My first placements were at Renishaw working on technical design projects within a team of engineers over two summers. I then worked for a year at Arup in Bristol in their consultancy business, which involved more design work, but also lots of business skills, travel and project management. By the end of my year placement I was managing my own projects in London, not just the engineering, but the contracts, client and budget.”
Stuart Allison, MEng Engineering Design, Bristol