Deciding to study abroad is never easy. It requires an unparalleled amount of willpower to start a life away from home and often a considerable financial commitment, let alone being decisive about your career path right away after high school. Backed with unwavering support from my parents, I made this decision three years ago – to realise my aspiration of studying and working in the United Kingdom.
I chose to pursue Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering at the University of Sheffield. The reason for choosing Sheffield is because it is known for automation, taught by the only Mechanical Engineering department in the UK dedicated to this field.
How Robotics helped me transfer into my professional role at Mercedes
‘Robotics’ has grown into a buzzword in recent times, but for me, it is a unique discipline that stands at the crossroads of electronics, software, and even mechanics! It blends topics ranging from signal processing and control theory to kinematics and actuation in a way that has real-life applications across a range of industries.
Since I started working in a software engineering role at Mercedes AMG High-Performance
Powertrains (HPP) last year, I realised the value of the skills that university projects have on offer. After a multitude of tedious applications filled with highs and lows, I was offered a year-long placement with Mercedes – which got underway after my penultimate year at university. As a business with the motto of winning all competitions entered, HPP has been developing successful powertrains for Formula-1, Formula-E, and high-performance road cars for decades. From working on a record-breaking 1000-km-range EV to supporting a one-of-a-kind motor project, the time I have spent at HPP has been exhilarating and brimmed with unequalled learnings.
How different projects pushed me to ‘make from home’ during the pandemic
Alongside industrial placements, students also get a chance to engineer projects which positively impact industries and even communities. In my case, these ranged from working on high-altitude solar telescopes to leading innovation at social enterprises. A project that has stood out for me is Active Legs, a digital health start-up by the University that develops leg exercise devices for people with limited mobility. I was in charge of developing the electronics and software for this device, a portable foot-rocker so that users could benefit from real-time health metrics. Projects like these pushed me to ‘make from home’ even amidst the pandemic, which was greatly eased through the support of iForge, the university’s own maker space.
I have also been able to achieve many opportunities that build better communities whilst redefining the city’s infrastructure. This is evident through the University’s ‘Made Together’ programme, a regeneration initiative for the university to make the South Yorkshire region healthier, greener, more vibrant, and innovative for all.
Despite the pandemic and a myriad of other challenges, I can confidently say that my experience here has been life-changing and truly worth it. I now look forward to returning to university in September and unfolding yet another exciting chapter in this journey!
The author, Shamoil Khomosi, is a student of Mechatronic and Robotic Engineering with an Industrial Placement Year BEng course at The University of Sheffield, UK.
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