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Meet our Alumni: Product Design University Undergraduate, Jacob Staniforth

Jacob Staniforth studied Engineering, Maths and Physics at UTC Sheffield City Centre, as he loved solving problems and being a critical thinker.

What did you enjoy the most about studying here?
I loved how hands-on the Engineering specialism was, and I enjoyed being involved in live briefs set by top employers in the industry. It provided me with useful knowledge, and it felt like I had a real responsibility, which was an enjoyable challenge. I worked with PES Performance and ended up getting some work experience there, with gave me a real insight into their business. Through the World Skills Programme, where we represented the UTC, I worked with Siemens and FESTO. I eventually worked for FESTO for a while after finishing at the UTC.

What have you been doing after graduating from the UTC?
I went on to study a Product Design Degree at Nottingham Trent University, which was really enjoyable. For three years throughout my Degree, I became a Skills Trainer at the UTC, which involved training students in automation, pneumatics and PLC programming. During the final year of my Degree, I’ve been working with Chesterfield Special Cylinders, where I created a new automated testing process for them to increase the safety for operators. It’s been great being able to apply the skills I learnt at the UTC at University level. I had an advantage when I started as I had already built up my knowledge in this subject, which I thank the UTC for.

How does the UTC differ from other schools?
The opportunities that arise through the industry contact that we get, sets it apart from other schools. We were given a lot of freedom in our work, so every student got to interpret the projects in their own way, which made it a lot more enjoyable for everyone. We are all different and it was nice that we were given the chance to have our own take on each project, so it felt more personal.

What’s been your most enjoyable memory here?
I liked the day-to-day learning – I was really dedicated and enjoyed pushing myself to achieve my goals and felt that the UTC supported me in this. The World Skills UK Competition was great to be involved in, and I was the first UTC student to take this on. I went on to win a Bronze Medal, which was unheard of for any UTC at that time. The UTC set a foundation for my career and prepared me for my future in Engineering.

Do you have any advice for students wanting to study Engineering at the UTC?
It can be daunting thinking about studying at a new place, however it’s a great place to learn and build on your skills. Whatever you want from an Engineering qualification is there if you’ve got the drive and motivation. I would definitely recommend the UTC as there are so many opportunities to explore your passions and to discover what you’re good at.

Principal at UTC Sheffield City Centre commented: “Jacob was a member of the first cohort to ever start at the UTC back in 2013. Throughout his time with us, Jacob worked exceptionally hard and took advantage of every opportunity afforded to him.  This included working with employers and competing at WorldSkills competitions.  Jacob epitomised the UTC ethos.  His study of a mix of academic and technical qualifications linked to employer support and his outstanding levels of effort helped him to follow his dreams.  It is fantastic to see how his career has gone from strength to strength after his time with us.”

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