Sunday, 9 December 2018

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Last week, four members of SELA participated in the UK’s first ever accessibility make-a-thon, hosted by Hackcessible. Hackcessible, in its inaugural year, presented challenges from eight individuals with different disabilities and accessibility issues, enthusing teams of engineers and designers to work together to come up with innovative solution.

Our SELA members describe their experience taking part in Hackcessible.

Friday, 30 November 2018

SELA Graduate named Railstaff Graduate of the Year 2018

We are delighted to congratulate SELA Cohort 2014 graduate James Featherstone, who has been named Railstaff Graduate of the Year 2018. This award recognises the impact James has made in his first year with Network Rail, and in particular, his Fast Trackers outreach initiative and mentoring of current members of SELA.

Fast Trackers engaged over 200 young people, inspiring them to recognise and realise their own potential, and to see careers in science and engineering as real possibilities for their future. In leading the programme, James demonstrated his continued commitment to the SELA Foundational Attributes, and especially enterprise capability and inspiration.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Alumnus credits SELA for Graduate Awards Shortlisting

James Featherstone, graduate of SELA Cohort 2014, has been shortlisted for multiple graduate awards following his outstanding achievements and progression since embarking on the Network Rail Graduate Scheme in 2017.

RailStaff Awards, and Construction News Talent Awards, have both recognised James’s ‘exceptional focus and dedication throughout the delivery of the [Fast Trackers] project’. Fast Trackers has seen James working alongside CEOs, directors, clients, teachers, students, and volunteers on a demanding project that inspires young students of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects to continue their passion into through a career in STEM. James’s Fast Trackers team is also up for the RailStaff Awards Charitable Team of the Year, a Construction News Talent Award, and Graduate Initiative of the Year.

James’s nomination for the RailStaff Graduate of the Year Award was supported by SELA, after James mentored new recruits at SELA Bootcamp 2018. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

"If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough": A Project Management workshop with Dyson

James Whitehead, Cohort 2018

Initially, the title of this post seems to be a risk-inducing quote. In fact, this is part of the philosophy that Dyson lived by in order to be the thriving, successful company that is is today. Impressively, the company has tripled its workforce over the past five years and is undoubtfully a leader in innovative product development.

SELA Cohort 2018 had the delight of welcoming Richard Wheatley from Dyson to share some of his insight, at a recent workshop on Project Management. Richard, a Sheffield Electrical Engineering graduate, is Global Head of Verification and Test with Dyson. Something I learned from his talk was that to develop amazing products, you must exceed the boundaries; you must embrace and take advantage of risk. However, it is essential to understand the risk itself and never lose sight of the consequences.

Here are my top three tips I took away from Richard.

Monday, 22 October 2018

SELA x Teecaake: Where Leadership Meets Entrepreneurship

Tahira Resalat, Cohort 2017

I began my last blog post with some very wise words from a special guest speaker, Gareth Griffiths, ‘Be a self-starter. A go-getter.’ I have tried to live by those words ever since. Following my knit-composite factory visit in Bangladesh in January 2018, I decided to visit a much smaller factory this time, with slightly different plans. My initial interest in international industry visits were for research purposes. However, taking Mr Griffith’s advice on board, I decided to combine the knowledge I had gained with my entrepreneurial skills to create a project that I can only name, ‘SELA x Teecaake’.

In my spare time away from being a materials engineer, I am a freelance illustrator. Since becoming a member of SELA last year, I have learnt a lot of ways to cope with challenges which have come my way in the form of balancing different streams of work and maintaining a high standard of professionalism in several aspects of my life. SELA has given me the confidence to go forth and make the connections both within and out of the university and network with other entrepreneurs or experts in female-led businesses.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Start of Our SELA Journey: Bootcamp Extravaganza

Jack Trethewey, Mark Harris & Mariyam Bi, Cohort 2018

SELA Bootcamp is our residential induction weekend for new members, providing a chance for new recruits to get to know each other, and to begin reflecting on their personal strenghts and areas for development, with the support of mentors from industry and academia, as they start their SELA journey. Here, three members of Cohort 2018 reflect on the experience.

Jack Trethewey


Upon arrival at the secret location for our Bootcamp it was impossible not to be left awestruck by the unrivalled levels of grandeur and professionalism presented to us. For me, one thing was particularly clear. SELA meant business. Throughout our stay, we were spoilt with delicious food, serving as the perfect companion to stimulating conversations over fine wine with our experienced mentors.

Training sessions were presented effectively and with professionalism by an array of highly qualified guest speakers. The sheer prestige of the Bootcamp was enough to give every budding engineer a tantalizing glimpse of just how successful they could be. Dreams of managerial positions, networking opportunities and global travel began to tease my mind and the notion that I, a young student, could one day lead the next generation of engineers started to become an exciting prospect.

Monday, 17 September 2018

How Studying Abroad Develops Leadership Skills

Jack Cundall, SELA Cohort 2016

Leadership involves connecting with a wide range of people, from inspiring employees to building business relationships, to keeping stakeholders happy. However, you might find it harder to build rapport with someone if you don’t understand what makes them tick, and this is especially hard if they are from a different culture.

A big part of studying abroad involves meeting people of different nationalities, not only from the country you are living in but also the community of other exchange students who you will spend time with. This is very interesting on a personal level to learn about different cultures. But job applications often look for candidates with good communication skills and spending every day with people whose first language is not English definitely develops this skill. If you can learn a language while studying abroad – even better.