Oily Overalls and Film Reels
I don’t know about you but as soon as I hear anyone say that they’re an engineer, I used to picture someone sporting oily work clothes swinging a spanner. It turns out I was completely wrong. There is a mass of different types of engineering roles that are not just for men. Last year I had an amazing opportunity to work closely with the LJMU Racing Team as there PR Manager. Who are they? They are a group of mechanical engineering students. When they are not studying they are all busy working together on designing a race car to compete against other students at Silverstone and Barcelona. I was invited over to meet the team and take a behind the scenes tour by Rhian the Race Team Manager (yes a girl). Another stereotype we can simply just forget about. Its 2016 we have male nurses and female pilots.
The engineering laboratory was amazing, I was surrounded by previous cars that formula students had designed and raced. I had the chance to use the driving simulator and looking at the digital design studios. Who knows, you could be working on the F1 cars of the future! But what stood out the most was the team work between the students and the dedication to do well as a team.
‘Teamwork is the key to any engineering challenge, especially within the racing world. An efficient team, i.e. good communication, time management, roll assignment and feedback can be the difference between winning and losing.’ Rhian Griffith
Working with LJMU Racing Team opened my eyes to other types of engineering roles. For instance, film making. This involves a host of transferable skills. Sound and software engineering all play a big part in making a film.
It took Steven Spielberg 33 years to gain his degree in film and electronic arts. He dropped out of college in 1965 and secured his fame with Jaws and went on to direct E.T. and gained three Oscar awards before his degree! Although you don’t have to study a certain subject to be a film director, having transferable skills including being creative and making sure all the actors and staff work together as a team. It’s also important that they are able to support the technical crew with digital editing and sound. So a background in sound or software engineering would certainly help if you wanted to work in the film industry.
‘When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.’ Steven Spielberg
The LJMU Screen School had been filming the formula students over the course of the year for a behind the scenes documentary. My role was to get as many students and sponsors to attend the premier of the first documentary. I went along to meet with the technicians and LJMU Media student Katerina Tsoncheva who directed and produced the documentary. I was shown how they use all the digital equipment and edit all the years filming to get to the end result. The premier was a success and the experience gave me an insight to different roles of engineering. This was a calibration of engineers designing the car and an engineer designing the documentary whilst bringing in other students from media, business and marketing backgrounds.
I know it seems a long was before you have to decide what options to take, never mind if you will go to university to carry on studying. I just wanted to share with you my experience, so that when you do start thinking about careers not to overlook something. Think about the possibilities engineering with a different view. I’m certainly not saying to drop out of college like Steven Spielberg or even that you should study at LJMU. Look at it in a different perspective, keep your options open, don’t rule anything out and work on them transferable skills and remember to work in a team! Steven Spielberg couldn’t make a hit movie by himself and Rhian couldn’t design and build a car alone after all. As the saying goes there is no I in TEAM.
“I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a ‘thank you’ to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career, and as a personal note for my own family – and young people everywhere – about the importance of achieving their college education goals.” Steven Spielberg
Visit my vlog at https://youtu.be/_G_F24Ppj-0
All links can be found at www.endgaim.info, you can also find out more about the racing team and other alternative engineering roles at the links below.
By Elaine Brasier
BBC News. (2002) Spielberg finally to graduate. [online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1988770.stm[Accessed 3rd April 2016]
JMU Journalism (2014) Documentary insight into LJMU racing team. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 3rd April 2016]
Liverpool John Moores University (2016) BSc (Hons) Software Engineering. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 28th May 2016]
Liverpool John Moores University (2016) BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering. [online] Available at:
https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduates/2016/mechanical-engineering-beng [Accessed 28th May 2016]
Liverpool John Moores University (2016) BA (Hons) Film Studies. [online] Available at: