The smart way to spend a gap year: part 2

1 March 2022

“In the depths of a fluid mechanics lecture, when things get a little abstract, I remember that we used that precise equation to optimise the design of a drug delivery pump…”

In part one of this blog series, we got an insight into EDT’s Year In Industry (YINI) scheme from one of our current students at Springboard, who explained why it might be the best thing you can do before starting your university degree!

Many students choose to undertake a year in industry to check that the subject choice is right for them. But how might your time at university be impacted by spending a year in industry first? As a team of enthusiastic scientists and engineers we are always keen to see real evidence, so we caught up with one of our previous students to hear how her year in industry with us has impacted her experience at university…

Hi, I’m Julia and I did a Year in Industry (YINI) at Springboard for 12 months from July 2019 to July 2020. I’m now in my second year of an Integrated Masters in Bioengineering at Loughborough University. I’d like to share with you several of the benefits of taking a year out to do a placement that have really become apparent to me since starting university.

Firstly, the industry experience has helped put what I am learning into context. For example, in the depths of a fluid mechanics lecture when things get a little abstract, I remember how we used that precise equation to optimize the design of a drug delivery pump, and my interest is sustained. Or when writing a report about biomaterials, I’ll recall conversations I had with a client on the biocompatibility of their device. Seeing the relevance and applications of theory has made my learning experience at university all the more engaging and enriching.

“When writing a report about biomaterials, I’ll recall conversations I had with a client on the biocompatibility of their device…”

On the practical side of things, the lab and software skills I gained whilst working on projects really gave me a head start in university modules, such as a first-year project designing a prosthetic hand, and designing bone scaffolds for tissue engineering on CAD in my second year. Working in teams of engineers and scientists at Springboard and presenting results to clients really helped me develop my confidence and soft skills, preparing me particularly well for group coursework projects.

Springboard’s support of outreach and charity work also broadened my experience. It encouraged me to get involved in further STEM outreach projects, as well as the organisation Engineers Without Borders UK, for which I have set up a chapter at Loughborough. I’ve also continued to develop my passion for climbing, which started with my Springboard colleagues.

Engaging primary school students at science club (or Julia before and after her YINI at Springboard)

Finally, I’d recommend a year in industry to anyone interested in engineering and wanting to take a gap year. There’s no doubt about it, an engineering degree can be challenging at times but knowing that it’s something you’re passionate about and an industry you know you enjoy working in certainly helps!

– Julia Whitehead

What is the Year In Industry scheme?

The Year In Industry (YINI) scheme is a year-long paid placement in a STEM-related company, in which a student becomes involved in projects and can learn to develop their professional skills. The EDT works with potential YINI students whether they are pre-university or mid-way through their degree, and helps to secure interviews for a placement.

How do you apply?

You can apply to the YINI scheme via the EDT website. For more details on the application process, check out our previous blog post.