An international graduate UK success story: Innovate to change the world

In this series, we’re speaking to international graduates from UWE Bristol to share their career journey to inspire new and graduating international students with how they found roles in the UK and navigated the UK’s job market.

We spoke to Lawrence, a Senior Systems Engineer from Jordan about his degree and what helped him find a career to match his ambition. Lawrence studied for his MSc in Aerospace Engineering at UWE Bristol and graduated in 2017. He now works for Archer, one of the leading companies in the futuristic eVTOL industry, producing fully electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft planned to be introduced in the next few years. Lawrence works on the systems engineering processes of these aircraft to ensure that they meet the standards required to fly legally and transport passengers safely.

It was his course at UWE Bristol that led Lawrence to become a Systems Engineer. Systems Engineering was central to the course, however the MSc also covered high-level topics needed to gain an understanding of the aerospace industry. For example, the airworthiness, advanced manufacturing and sustainability modules have been integral to Lawrence’s role in sustainable aviation. His course also featured CPD elements focussing on the benchmarks for becoming a Chartered Engineer. This he sites as being instrumental in enabling him to become a Chartered Engineer in a relatively short space of time.

How to harness disruption

The word disruption doesn’t typically fill you with joy when you hear it. Usually, disruption means a disturbance that interferes and causes issues. In business, however, disruption is can be the change needed to create new ideas and spark innovation. Take two of the biggest disruptors in recent years, Airbnb and Netflix. Both companies used a gap in the market to shake up the status quo and create business plans that have changed the global hotel market and how people watch television. Rather than being wary of disruption, the key is learning how to harness it’s potential. This doesn’t happen overnight, but as a graduate wanting to join this type of industry, look out for businesses with an innovative core that is looking for talent to move ideas forward

 Uber is often used as an example of disruption, but what they did was challenge a market that already existed. A more suitable example is Netflix. When Netflix first formed, Blockbuster was king and they didn’t view Netflix as a serious competitor as they believed that customers wouldn’t want to wait for a DVD to be posted to them. What Blockbuster didn’t anticipate was the direction that video streaming was going. Netflix is now worth billions of dollars and producing it’s own unique content, and Blockbuster has gone bankrupt. For many companies, the importance lies in knowing when to challenge how something has always been done and having employees that can notice these changes.

Lawrence loves being “involved in something that will change the world! These aircraft will revolutionise the nature of flying. They'll reach the stage where they will pick you up near your house, and, as they’re electric, they will be much more environmentally sustainable. It's almost like something from a movie! It’s great to contribute to something where, in 10 years or so, I will be able to say, I was one of the first people who worked on this!”

What is Lawrence’s advice to other international students looking for a career in the UK?

Lawrence explains that “Communication skills are essential – just as important as technical skills. And this is especially the case for international students who need to develop their English language. My role constantly involves collaboration, working with a vast range of people from different backgrounds, and with different areas of knowledge. Take every opportunity you can during your studies to communicate with people and work with others.

One of the key differences between my undergraduate and the course I did at UWE, is the amount of teamwork involved in my MSc. All the modules involved some kind of collaborative teamwork, and often working with experienced professionals, which also enabled me to start building contacts in my industry. This approach to learning has been invaluable for my career. What is more, at UWE there are so many societies and volunteering opportunities you can get involved with. These experiences really propelled my English language skills, which, in turn, were pivotal to my getting a job in the UK.”

These skills can be harnessed while studying and used to find ground-breaking careers led by change and new ideas. For more news for international students and graduates and free careers advice, register with GradLink today!

By Jen Garmston Published: Nov 03,2022

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