Giles Dawson, 23,is a design engineer for Aero Tech Laboratories. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Oxford Brookes University in 2006.
What do you do in your job?
We design and manufacture fuel tanks for all the Formula One and World Raleigh Championship teams and most of the motor sport industry. I am one of the design engineers who design all the hardware, which means that I sit at a Computer Aided Design (CAD) machine all day drawing all sorts of things from fuel tanks to nut rings and plates with holes in.
What do you like about your job?
It is very rewarding seeing the products I’ve worked on being used in Formula One and the World Raleigh Championships. I get to see the proof of my labour out there on the track. I have always been a bit of a petrol head and consequently totally involved in motorsport. My love of cars put me on the path I am on. It inspired me to do a mechanical engineering degree and now, I am working in the industry that I always dreamed of being a part of.
What do you dislike about your job?
There are very long hours especially over the winter, which can be hard. All the teams release their new designs over this period and so expect us to do all their work then. It means 4am starts and 7pm finishes, which sounds crazy but I prefer to do it that way round rather then staying up working until midnight.
What are the biggest challenges?
Meeting deadlines is difficult. It is one of those industries where everybody wants everything yesterday. Staying awake when I have done a run of early starts is also a major challenge.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
It is a very competitive industry, so you need to work very hard at university and make sure you get a good degree. Doing extra-curricular activities that will boost your CV is a must and the only way you can put yourself in the shop window. You have to make sure you have more on your CV than anyone else. Formula Student is a good way of doing that and all the major universities take part in the project.