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.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

What the MATE Competition taught me about leadership

Khaled Saad, SELA Cohort 2016

Since last year, I have been leading the first team from England to enter the MATE ROV, an annual, international competition to design and build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The competition focuses on developing technical and entrepreneurial skills. All participating teams are required to act as a company and to approach the competition as a project provided by a client. Teams are also required to raise their own funding, market their vehicle, and to carry out outreach activities.

I decided to join the competition to put the skills that I gained from SELA into practice, and to gain more experience in managing people and resources within a technical environment. Over the course of the project, I learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful leader and I will summarise some of those key lessons in this post.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Going out of this world to inspire next generation of engineers

SELA and Sent Into Space, a company run by two Sheffield PhD graduates, have partnered in a bid to inspire young people into engineering by sending schoolchildren’s cards to the edge of space.

At the ‘Think Inside the Box’ event in April, held at the Magna Science Centre in Rotherham, over 2,000 young people from across the South Yorkshire region were able to engage and learn about nine different engineering disciplines through SELA’s interactive exhibits.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Urban Flows Sensor Competition Success for SELA Graduate

SELA Graduate, Yun-Hang Cho, has won the Sensor Build competition with the Urban Flows Observatory. Yun was an active member of the inaugural SELA cohort, and is currently studying for a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

The competition, sponsored by Siemens and Autodesk, invited engineers across Sheffield to present their innovative sensor designs on improving air quality, health or energy efficiency. It was Hosted by the Urban Flows Observatory, which is part of a wider group of UK Urban Observatories, addressing issues of infrastructure development. The Urban Flows Observatory aims to bring together fixed, mobile, atmospheric and satellite data that measure a range of environmental and physical criteria across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. This will provide the opportunity to deploy advanced data fusion techniques to create a dynamic understanding of the flows of energy and resources in the city that is globally leading.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

SELA Student Awarded Prize at this Year’s Activities Awards

SELA member Adrien Gallet has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement (Societies) prize for his role in the Investment Society at this year’s Activities Awards. The annual Activities Awards aim to recognise and celebrate the hard work that University of Sheffield students put into Societies and Committees each year.

Adrien joined the Investment Society in his first year at university due to his interest in financial markets. He soon realised that the society lacked an activity that encouraged complete beginners to join, and recognised that the society focused solely on investing, whilst a large part of finance revolves around trading. Adrien, with the help of the society’s President, created and launched the Trading Division in his second year at university, and became the Chairman of the division.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Leading the way in connectivity inside 3D-printed components

Fiona Lambert, SELA Cohort 2016

Last week, SELA received a talk from Mark Cocking. Mark is from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which is owned by the University of Sheffield, and has developed a new method of 3D-printing, called THREAD. 

Mark shared his facinating career in industry leading to his arrival at the AMRC, and how he decided to pursue engineering. From a young age it was apparent that he was a practical problem solver and was destined to become an engineer: at age seven he designed a guinea pig exerciser for his neighbour’s overweight pets!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Three SELA students Awarded Royal Academy of Engineering Scholarships

Three SELA members have been awarded the Engineering Leaders Scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. This prestigious scholarship has been awarded to Materials Science and Engineering student Matthew Smith, and two Civil and Structural Engineering students Adrien Gallet and Kyle McLean.

The scholarship programme aims to support engineering undergraduates who have the potential to become future leaders in engineering, and who are able to act as role models for future engineers. Recipients get the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to fulfil their potential, helping them to move into engineering leadership positions in UK industry soon after graduation. The scholarship enables undergraduates to undertake an accelerated personal development programme, with all scholars receiving £5,000 to be used over three years towards career personal development.

Monday, 23 April 2018

SELA student named Engineering Undergraduate of the Year in National Awards

SELA student Igor Gawron has been announced as Engineering Undergraduate of the Year 2018. Igor, who is studying Mechanical Engineering with Nuclear Technology at the University of Sheffield, received the award, sponsored by E.ON, at a ceremony in Canary Wharf last Friday.

The annual Undergraduate of the Year Awards aim to find and celebrate the best undergraduates in the UK. Twelve awards are offered each year across a range of categories. The Engineering award is sponsored by E.ON, and recognises an individual who demonstrates outstanding technical knowledge in the energy industry. Judges are looking for creativity and innovation paired with an ability to initiate and influence change, through building professional networks and applying commercial awareness.

Friday, 20 April 2018

SELA members shortlisted for TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year


SELA is delighted to congratulate two members of Cohort 2016 who have been shortlisted in the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2018. After a challenging application process, Kate Drury has received nomination for the Female TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year 2018, and Igor Gawron has been nominated for the Engineering TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year 2018.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

SELA inspires 2,000 young people to Get Up To Speed with Engineering

SELA Cohort 2017 yesterday inspired over 2,000 young people to recognise their potential to succeed through STEM.

Think Inside The Box, conceived, designed and delivered by SELA students, showcased nine engineering disciplines in interactive exhibits as the centre-piece of Get Up To Speed with STEM at Magna Science Centre in Rotherham, alongside well-known engineering organisations including Liberty Steel, AESSEAL, Doncasters Bramah and Mazak.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Leading the Way to £5k in UK Space Agency Challenge

Three aerospace students from the University of Sheffield – including two members of SELA Cohort 2017 – have won a £5k prize after entering a UK Space Agency challenge with their proposal for an automated person detection system for use in humanitarian response to natural disasters.

Monday, 16 April 2018

“Business is fun, but not funny”

Ruxandra Mindru, SELA Cohort 2017

It’s not everyday that you get to meet the CEO of a multi-million pounds business and yet recently, all SELA cohorts got this exact chance.

Graham Royle, CEO of the GRI Group, founded the highly successful firm in 2001 and is currently providing for Unilever. His formula is behind brands like Fairy and I Love.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

International Networking: An Industry Visit in Bangladesh

Tahira Resalat, SELA Cohort 2017

‘Never be afraid to pursue things,’ and ‘Be a self-starter. A go-getter,’ are two of the many simple and yet exceptionally profound things SELA guest speaker, Gareth Griffiths said during his talk. There was something very fitting about Mr Griffiths being our final guest speaker of the semester in that he inspired me to end my year on a very productive and positive note. Following his talk about how important he thought networking was, not only within British and European companies, but globally also, I decided I wanted to gain some international experience over the Christmas holidays.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

SELA student success in The Sir William Siemens Challenge 2018

Brandon O'Connell, SELA Cohort 2016

Last weekend, I was very excited to be partnered with five other fantastic engineers from a variety of disciplines and universities to form Team Simotion, competing in the first Sir William Siemens Challenge, MindsphereLive, with Siemens UK.

The MindSphere is a cloud-based, open IoT operating system from Siemens that connects your products, plants, systems, and machines, enabling you to harness the wealth of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) with advanced analytics.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

On the Track to Success!

James Featherstone, MEng GMICE, SELA Cohort 2014

Since graduating in 2017, I have joined Network Rail’s engineering graduate scheme. I was sponsored through my time at university as part of the ICE QUEST Scholarship, which involved undergraduate placements with Network Rail throughout each of my summers at university. I was lucky enough to be involved in some incredible infrastructure schemes – Birmingham New Street, Farnworth Tunnel and Hinksey Flood Alleviation Scheme – as well as going on visits to some of the other projects and famous infrastructure across the country.

In my second year of university, I was successful in applying to Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy’s inaugural cohort. This was something I was particularly keen to be a part of in order to build on my softer skills – leadership, organisation, presentation, teamwork, networking and self-awareness. What I didn’t expect was the incredible opportunity SELA would present me and others with to have access to engineers and academics who were the leaders in their respective fields, as well as the benefits that working in a group of like-minded individuals on lengthy projects would have.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

SELA: A Chance for Leadership Theory to become Practice

Vincent Crasborn, SELA Cohort 2016

As a SELA student I often get asked what it is that we learn, and why we learn it, by fellow students. When I explain that we explore how to be effective leaders in engineering, the conversation can go in all sorts of directions, however many of them have the same reaction. Surely leadership theory is just that: theoretical, and in the end it all just wastes time that you could be using running simulations, writing code or researching components.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Revisited: Three Reasons Why I Joined SELA

Germayne Williams-Sylvester, SELA Cohort 2017

This post is a follow-up to Germayne's previous blog Three Reasons Why I Joined SELA.

The last time I did a blog post I outlined how, at the end of my first year, I had been involved in a number of societies and had managed to secure my place with SELA. I detailed the 3 things I wanted to get out of my journey with SELA – and I think it appropriate to update you along the way, instead of just giving you the final product.

Friday, 5 January 2018

SELA meets Shell!

Matthew Smith, SELA Cohort 2017

Early on a cold, frosty December morning, I had the privilege of attending an Insight Day at the Shell Centre in Waterloo.

The day began nice and early in order for me to get my 9:30am train. The roads were covered in ice from the previous snow fall along my path. Not to my knowledge at the time, but my train had been cancelled due to ‘points’ problems on the track; if only I knew then I could have had that extra hour in bed! Not to worry though, as I boarded the 9:50am which, thankfully, was running on time.