Tom Driscoll – MEng Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University

Tom Driscoll – MEng Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University


Now I’m here,
it’s a lot harder than I was expecting
but it’s also really enjoyable, I really enjoy this course
I’ve definitely made the right choice
in studying engineering, especially at Brookes
because you get to use the amazing facilities,
the lecturers are very approachable
if you have a problem,
you don’t quite understand something,
they’ll say ‘come to my office, I’m available
at this and this time, we’ll talk about it’
and the subject itself, and the way it’s taught
is very very interesting.
I really enjoy the coursework,
especially the group courseworks
you get given a larger project
and more scope to do what you want
and to come up with your own ideas
and that’s especially what the lecturers want to see.
The facilities here, well there are so many
bits of coursework based around the facilities
so we’ve got the four post rig over there
which is basically a shaker rig
to test cars’ suspension
and there’s a couple of courseworks you can do on that.
We’ve got facilities for testing materials
and components in the labs beyond,
and you do lots of courseworks
over the course of your degree
so you’ll go and do an experiment,
okay there’s the data, go and write up your results
and they often apply it, so in the first year
was we tested some plastics, some metals
for their strength, what would be the best thing
to make a steering wheel out of?
Justify your reasons, and so it’s constantly a challenge
to get some real data and think about it
and then apply it in an engineering application.
It’s absolutely brilliant, it’s really enjoyable.
You might not always agree with people you work with,
you might not always get along,
and sometimes you have to stay up
some very late nights
Eventually when you do hand in a bit of coursework
and you’ve done a significant chunk of it
you should be proud of what you’ve done.
Before I came to Brookes,
I came straight from sixth form,
a local school back in St Albans,
and I studied at AS Level Psychology,
and then Maths, Physics and History at A2 Level.
I came on an open day to Brookes originally
although it was the first open day I’d been to,
the whole experience just blew me away
and I just walked away with a massive grin on my face
and all the other open days I went to after that,
Brookes was the bar against which I measured
everything else and nothing quite compared.
It was the enthusiasm of the lecturers,
it was the facilities, it was everything about it.
There’s Formula 1 cars around here,
there’s indy cars, there’s everything.
I went on placement year after my second year here
and I went to a local company called YASA Motors.
They were a spin off from Oxford University
designing very high torque, very high performance
electric motors, and it was a very small company
it was only fifteen people when I joined
but now they’ve almost doubled in size
because the technology is so good
and the chance to learn was absolutely fantastic.
The placement year is definitely going to help me
because I didn’t have much experience on my CV
I had some good education, but I didn’t
actually have any experience.
So that is some fantastic experience
with a growing company,
who’ve worked with some great OEMs.
So I actually say I’ve worked on real projects
and I understand engineering.
At university, it helped because
I was able to get a project for my dissertation
which I thought was better than just doing
something a lecturer thought up
one Thursday afternoon
was to actually do something related to a real company
and that was very enjoyable.
Definitely come here on an open day,
it’s one thing reading about Brookes
and hearing someone say ‘oh yeah it’s really good’
or seeing some pictures in a prospectus
but you actually need to come here and see
what the facilities are,
what the building and campus is actually like
and also talk to the lecturers, ask them
even simple things like how big are the classes,
what will I learn, and
what do graduates from here go on to do
and that’s what’s really impressive,
I remember the first person that was demonstrated on,
‘Do you remember watching the Japanese Grand Prix
last weekend?’ ‘Yeah.’
‘Did you see the guy on the podium
picking up the trophy for Renault?’
‘Yeah.’ ‘He was one of ours.’

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