Scott Shearan, Development Engineer at Aurrigo sits down to speak of his experience with the BBM Global Industry Scholarship. Scott has been with Aurrigo since September 2017, after moving from Australia at just 21 – he discusses how he got involved with the scholarship, some of the challenges he’s faced, and how it has benefited him in his full-time role.
What are some of your roles at Aurrigo on a day-to-day basis
“I initially came here to look into electronics and a hands-on engineering role. Because of this, I started to look into harness design, vehicle architecture and ECU design of autonomous and electric vehicles. But over the two and a half years that I’ve been here, my role on a day-to-day basis changes for me. So, one day I could be on the assembly line – putting vehicles together, to actually travelling around the world, training our new employees in Canada, Australia and all our other branches around the world.”
Alongside his varied tasks at the head office in Coventry, Scott has also been given the lead role in Australia running one of Aurrigo’s self-driving vehicle projects at Elliott Gardens – which is actually up for an award.
How did you get involved with the BBM Scholarship?
“When I was in Australia, I was working as an automotive diagnostic technician at a small business. And I was nominated by our TAFE NSW college in Australia to participate in the WorldSkills Australia competition.”
Scott explains how he competed in the regional competition against eight other people from around Sydney. After successfully coming away with a gold medal, Scott was qualified for the Sydney West team. One year down the line – he competes in Melbourne at the national competition. Over the three days he spent in Melbourne for the national competition, Scott comes away with a second gold medal.
“[Once you achieve a gold medal] you are offered scholarships and other opportunities to further your education and training overseas. So, I won the national gold medal in 2016 and I was offered the scholarship with BBM in 2017.”
What have your learnt during your scholarship that has set you up on your current path?
“As part of the scholarship, you’re given a fund to do work experience at different companies overseas. I chose three companies to participate with – Vauxhall in Luton, which was a further diagnostic training on diagnosing vehicles. I also worked at SBD Automotive in Milton Keynes – that was a research consultancy company and I was working in the autonomous vehicle division.”
During his time at SBD, Scott explains he spent some time looking at the future of vehicle architecture about autonomous vehicles. He then moved on to RDM group where he spent one month doing hands-on engineering and design of autonomous vehicles – which later lead to his full-time employment role.
“What I was trying to do was look at the future of where the automotive industry was heading and chose my career path around that and the companies I did work experience with. I chose to continue on with RDM group because it’s a very hands-on, family, engineering company with a lot going on.”
What was your greatest challenge during the scholarship?
“I guess one of the greatest challenges is just pushing yourself out of that boundary; coming overseas by yourself and not knowing anyone. Really, just taking a shot and taking on this opportunity that I had. That was a big thing for me, stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new and different.”
What, in your opinion, do you believe has been the greatest benefit of completing your scholarship with Aurrigo?
“One of the greatest benefits was being offered full-time employment with the opportunity to also continue training in development.”
Scott comments on how he was able work on a variety of different projects whilst enjoying full-time employment with Aurrigo – allowing him the opportunity to see how the company worked. He says Aurrigo is supportive in his full-time work alongside his studies – Scott is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Engineering and Applied Engineering at Warwick University and is grateful he has been given the opportunity to pursue both his career and his studies at the same time.
Do you feel like your scholarship experience, through its impact on your career, has enabled you to make an impact on your industry?
“I do feel like my scholarship experience has allowed me to take that step forward to see where this industry is heading. It’s great to be a part of that future industry change, be there whilst it’s all happening and make an influence on it, if possible.”
In your opinion, what are the most important trends and developments in the autonomous vehicle industry, and do you see a role for the scholarships in advancing this industry?
“One of the most important trends is looking at the environment on the future development of our vehicles, with a huge focus being on electric vehicles. The future is not only going to have a massive impact on the automotive trade but every other trade as well.”
Scott warns, for the automotive industry, we have to keep upskilling in what we are doing. He says the role of scholarships is fantastic in giving people the opportunity to travel across the globe and experiencing what different countries are doing in preparing for that change.
Would you encourage other young people to get involved with the BBM Global Industry Scholarship scheme?
“I definitely would encourage other young people to take on this opportunity. It’s given me the chance to better myself and lead to a full-time role in a game changing industry. It’s a great opportunity to hire some talented people wanting to make a difference.”
As we near the end of the interview, Scott leaves us with some words of wisdom for any young people starting out in the autonomous vehicle trade.
“Don’t be afraid to take a risk and make a change. Always look to the future and see what is changing around the trade. And always be prepared for that change and be ahead of the game.”