Monday, 16 November 2020

Finding and Managing Opportunity

Matthew Bate, SELA Cohort 2018

Hands together around single buttercup flower on stem
If I were to give you one piece of advice, I’d say remember this: opportunity doesn’t just come to you, it’s something you’ve got to find.

In September 2019, myself and a team of five began work on a new form of Assistive Technology: we called it U Calm.

As we began the year, we were coming off the back of our success at Workwise’s Get Up to Speed Event and we had the drive to make a difference.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Project 2050: What can we do today to change the fate of our world? - Food Shortage

Jaimini Solanki, Jordan Walsh, Samuel Rhodes and Thomas Thomas, Cohort 2019

As part of Project 2050, SELA Cohort 2019 wished to demonstrate how engineering could have an impact in tackling the myriad sustainability issues which plague our society before irreparable damage is done. The exhibition is now live, in Festival of the Mind 2020 – both as an in person event, and a digital interactivity.

As our population rapidly grows, we need to find new ways of farming food to meet the demand. If this is not done, it is very likely that humans will not be able to produce enough food for this ever-growing population, regardless of any efforts made. Our SELA Food Shortages Team had the challenge of applying engineering solutions to solve future food shortages.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Project 2050: What can we do today to change the fate of our world? - Antibiotic Resistance

Nadine Shawkey, SELA Cohort 2019

As part of Project 2050, SELA Cohort 2019 wished to demonstrate how engineering could have an impact in tackling the myriad sustainability issues which plague our society before irreparable damage is done. The exhibition is now live, in Festival of the Mind 2020 – both as an in person event, and a digital interactivity.

As a group we identified that one of the areas which are predicted to be a huge problem in 2050 in regards to the biomedical engineering field is Antibiotic resistance. 300 million people are predicted to have died because of antibiotic resistance by then.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Lockdown Blues – Getting Your Mojo Back for the Next Academic Year

Jack Trethewey, Cohort 2018

As we rattle our way briskly through August, the start of the next academic year looms ever closer, mired with a complex feeling of uncertainty and excitement. I personally have found myself so engrossed in my new lockdown life, that I find it hard to imagine a time where I didn’t wile away the hours baking bread, ferociously cleaning my kitchen and rearranging my sock drawer. In fact, as June approached, I managed to get myself into a slump. I had recently learned that three placement offers I had secured had been cancelled. In an instant, my summer plans were blown wide open. At the time, I felt this loathsome feeling of self-pity, as if I was being personally targeted by this pandemic and that COVID-19 had made it its mission to derail my life.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Three Skills We Developed Through Working WIth Industry

Rob Bowland & Sam Maxwell, Cohort 2018

Throughout this year, members of SELA conducted year long projects revolving around the central theme of Big Data, and its increasing prevalence in all aspects of the modern world. Our group worked with industry partners at Tinsley Bridge on a project exploring data-driven manufacturing. Part of this, that we both worked in, was the analysis of existing data sets, with the intention of providing insights into company operations and potential opportunities for improvement, as well as to highlight the value of a data-driven approach to decision making.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

SELA Success in Collaboration Awards and Six Tips for Online Collaboration

SELA is proud to announce that members Grace Faulkner, Kristel Bedregal Portugal, and Jaimini Solanki are members of the second place winning team of the Neil Rackham Foundation Award, for their project Anyone Can Engineer (ACE). This award recognises and celebrates the success of University of Sheffield students working on group projects during the COVID-19 lockdown. The award recognises the ACE Team’s project, inspired by SELA, to create an accessible introduction to the diversity of engineering roles, to inspire young people to recognise engineering as an opportunity for their future.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

What does the future of engineering look like? A Biomedical Engineering Perspective

Ella Leatt, Cohort 2019

Biomedical engineers are professionals which combine the disciplines of biology and engineering in order to apply engineering principles in medical fields.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, biomedical engineering has come to the forefront of future technologies as a light has been shone on the need for virtual healthcare. Engineers will be required to develop technologies which will alter the way we manage our healthcare. We have already seen a shift in the way we view our own health with apps and smartwatches, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Five steps to changing your habits: An insight into mental resilience

Sam Casadei, Cohort 2019

As humans, we have an instinct to crave safety, an evolved desire that if left untreated, can become a hindrance to development. We all want to be comfortable in what we do, and we prefer to be in familiar surroundings. But at what cost? Why is Mental Resilience Important?

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Three ways SELA helped me grow

Thomas Binu Thomas, Cohort 2019

SELA teaches engineering and computer science students the non-academic skills needed to enable a driven individual to strive in their workplace. But it is so much more than just a skill development opportunity! As Dr Gary Wood, Head of SELA, says: it is an individual journey that every single cohort member will experience differently throughout the two year period. If you were to listen to any exit interview, they would all be different! Here’s a small window into my own journey and what I have learnt so far during my first year at SELA.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Celebrating SELA’s Royal Academy of Engineers Scholarship Winners

SELA is proud to announce that members Sam Maxwell and Sam Rhodes have been chosen as winners of this year’s Engineering Leaders Scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The RAEng has a long history of engineering excellence and part of this is identifying next generation leaders in the field. The Engineering Leaders Scholarship identifies these future leaders and supports their personal and professional development. The scholarship includes a £5,000 personal award over three years towards career development activities, as well as offering exciting opportunities to develop the winners’ potential, such as undertaking an accelerated personal development programme. All of which helps the winners bag that dream job post graduation!

The scholarship is open to all undergraduate students who have completed their first year in engineering or a related field, so competition for places is fierce. SELA would like to take this opportunity to extend a huge congratulations to both Sam Maxwell and Sam Rhodes for this phenomenal achievement.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Wellbeing & Managing Stress

Oskar Ernst, Cohort 2019

Mental health is as important as physical health as it dictates our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. To live a balanced life, we need to keep our wellbeing in check and not let stress get the better of us.

With that in mind, SELA’s first virtual workshop could not have come at a better time with the current stressful events that have hijacked our normal lives. The workshop was led by Pam Burrows, a wellbeing coach for the workplace, and was full of useful information on how to manage stress and increase wellbeing.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

The Case for the Engineering Community to Take Action on Mental Health

Bertie Knight, Cohort 2018


Given the restrictions on our day-to-day lives at the moment, our collective mental health is unfortunately in a very vulnerable place, which is why I figured now would be a good time to write about it. Many people who we meet day-to-day can struggle with mental ill health, even without us realising it. In fact, according to NHS England, roughly one in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK.[1]

Here, I share the reasons I think workers in the engineering community can be susceptible to mental health problems, and what I think the engineering community should do about it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Difficult Conversations: My Advice for Tackling Taboo Discussion Topics with Ease

Jack Trethewey, Cohort 2018

Think back to the last time you had to have a difficult conversation. Perhaps you were plucking up the courage to ask for that much-needed pay-rise. Maybe you wanted to give an uncooperative group member a piece of your mind. Or perhaps you were reaching the climax of some intense negotiations. How did the conversation make you feel? Did all participants get their desired outcome? Or did you choose to avoid the conversation, convincing yourself it was something for someone else to eventually deal with? Tricky chats have always filled me with a sense of dread and have usually left all parties involved feeling slightly dissatisfied. However, thanks to the entertaining workshop facilitated by Lucy Owens from Lucy Owens Coaching, actors Jamie Cymbal, Marie Ekins and Andrew Palmer, I realised that my conversation-anxiety was misplaced and that it is, more often than not, possible for everyone to come away from tough conversations feeling satisfied. So I am here to share with you some key things I learned, in the hope that you’ll also tackle any tricky talks with confidence and positivity.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Learning to Network

Jaimini Solanki & Ben Campion, Cohort 2019

Our recent workshop with Will Kintish, business networking skills expert, provided a real insight into the importance of networking for engineering leaders.

Simply put, networking is just building relationships. This can be split into three stages: getting to know someone, liking them, and trusting them, which is the foundation for any relationship, professional or otherwise. Meeting people at networking events is fundamentally no different to meeting people at a social event and the same principles apply. This means you can forget about delivering a sales pitch to the people you meet and focus on being yourself!

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The case for Aspiring Engineering Leaders to get Politically Active

Bertie Knight, Cohort 2018

It may upset some of you to read this, but just because the UK 2019 General Election is two months behind us, politics isn’t something that’s simply going to go away for another five years. It’s a topic that’s stressful, complicated, often boring, but also undeniably important since it impacts almost every aspect of our daily lives in ways that we generally take for granted... a lot like engineering! When was the last time, for instance, that you stopped to think of all the ways in which engineering shapes your daily life?

In this blog, I want to highlight some ways in which engineering and politics are aligned, and show that sometimes political struggle is integral in facilitating our broader goals as engineers. I believe the next generation of leaders in engineering need to be engaged with politics now more than ever before, which is difficult given that many young people are disenfranchised and inactive where politics is concerned.

Friday, 14 February 2020

A New Revolution: My Time at Tinsley Bridge

Mark Harris, Cohort 2018

I worked at Tinsley Bridge for the second half of my internship last year, and this placement was rather different from my previous placement at Professional Energy Purchasing in many ways, but still had many similarities. Energy efficiency and turning to green sources of power are very hot topics nowadays, and my time at Tinsley Bridge was focussed on making the factory more efficient.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Summer Placements: Five top tips for application success!

Jack Trethewey, Cohort 2018

’Tis the season to be applying for placements and as a well-versed applicant, offer-receiver and rejectee, I thought it prudent to share with you some key pieces of advice I have accumulated over the past three years. I hope this article may serve as a confidence-booster for any aspiring intern.

1. Make your CV shine!


I cannot stress this point enough. The first glimpse that any manager or interviewer gets of you is in that document. So, always check your CV before you submit it. Is it up to date with the correct contact details, qualifications, references and experiences? Is it concise, yet closely matched in language and tone to the job you’re applying for? Is the layout easy to follow? You must remember that your recruiter has potentially hundreds of CVs to look through, so getting to the point and showing all your experience as quickly and concisely as possible is key.