Top student opportunity to shadow leading motor industry execs

Autocar has launched a very interesting award programme for final year University students (including those involved in Public Relations) in association with various sponsors in the motor industry.

I think the chance for any young person to reflect on “the next automotive industry revolution” is fascinating – but the real value is in the opportunity for the six short listed entrants to spend a day with senior decision makers from each of the sponsoring brands.  Shadowing is a brilliant thing to be able to do – to observe and listen how strategic operations work within any organisation is a priceless experience.

One thing that does concern me about this initiative (which is openly stated as being “designed to raise an interest in Haymarket Media Group, publishers of Autocar and Courland Automotive Practice LLP.”), is the timing which appears not to have been determined in consultation with the University sector.

The competition is said to be open to final year University students – but there is no clear explanation of what this actually means.  Is it open only to undergraduates or can post-graduates also apply?  And, as we are in the middle of the Summer vacation (with the closing date being 1 September) – are final years students those who have just graduated or those going back for their final year in 2009/10?

Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t really enable Universities to promote the award to any students who might be interested. 

I’ve often worked with clients who want to undertake educational outreach initiatives – with schools or Universities.  Invariably they do not understand the timings and ways of engaging with such institutions and think that their idea – which generally involves considerable effort for teachers and students to participate – will result in floods of interest.  They are normally lucky to get a handful of entrants without accommodating the needs of the schools/Universities.

I really think the Autocar idea is great – particularly at the current time when encouraging graduates to consider a career in the motor industry is a real challenge despite the great potential that remains in this dynamic sector.

However, it might have been able to fly a little bit more if it had been launched at a different time to suit the students’ calendars and to be clearer about who is eligible to enter.  Nevertheless, if you are eligible, or know anyone who is – do pass on details of where to enter:

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.