Product Development Career case study

Ian HillaryWhat were you doing before you joined Leyland Trucks?
I first became aware of employment opportunities at Leyland Trucks whilst studying for my A-Levels. I was looking for sponsorship to study full-time at university. The Leyland Trucks Sponsored Student Scheme provided not only that financial support but also the chance to gain relevant experience by working during the summer holidays.

The knowledge that I had paid work during the summer allowed me to concentrate on my studies during the rest of the year, whilst many of my friends on the course had to juggle studying with evening and weekend work to support themselves.
The offer of employment at Leyland Trucks upon graduation certainly took the pressure off during my final year as job-hunting is an unwelcome distraction during exam season.

How have you progressed since you’ve been with Leyland Trucks?
After graduating from UMIST with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I started full-time at Leyland Trucks in 2006 as a Graduate Design Engineer, working within the Product Development Group. I was part of a graduate rotation programme; where I spent 6 months working in several different design areas, gaining understanding of the company’s processes and putting into practice the theories learnt at university.
In 2008 I became a Senior Engineer within the Engines Team. I was responsible for the exhaust system and was involved in the development of the aftertreatment system for the DAF Euro6 LF.

In 2014 I became the Lead Engineer of the Engine and Engine Systems Team, responsible for the engine, aftertreatment, cooling, air-intake and fuel systems on the DAF LF and CF product range using the PACCAR PX-5 and PX-7 engines.

In 2010 I became a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Leyland Trucks helped me achieve Chartered status by allocating an individual mentor to guide me through the application process. The company continues to support me by providing opportunities for Continued Professional Development and the payment of my professional subscription fees.

What’s the best thing about working at Leyland Trucks?
As the Product Development Group at Leyland Trucks is a relatively small team, I feel that one person really can make a difference. I have the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the engineering cycle; seeing projects through from the first stages of concept definition to introduction into production. It is also interesting to meet and work with all the different types of people involved at each stage of the process, from component suppliers with expert knowledge in their particular field to the end customer who uses the truck as a profit generating tool – each person has a unique and valuable insight on the products we create.

As Leyland Trucks is part of PACCAR, a global company, I have had the chance to travel all over Europe. This includes working at our sister company, DAF Trucks, in The Netherlands, visiting suppliers and testing vehicles in the extreme weather conditions encountered in Spain and Finland.

What’s a typical day for you?
Having design responsibility for such a large proportion of the vehicle means that each day brings different challenges .One day could involve working with the Production Team to solve an issue on the assembly line, whereas the next day I could be discussing ideas for the next generation of trucks which would enter production 5 years from now.

It is this variety of both hands-on and theoretical work that makes my job interesting and I genuinely learn something new every day.

What do you hope the future holds for you at Leyland Trucks?
I gain the most job satisfaction from being able to give the customer the best possible product we can. I hope that I can continue to do this by generating ideas, taking them through the development and validation stages and seeing them benefit the end user.

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