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Meet Harneet: The First Winner of the Accu Scholarship

Meet Harneet - The Inaugural Winner of the Accu Scholarship!

In April 2023, we launched the Accu Scholarships program, aimed at supporting the engineers of tomorrow. This initiative reflects Accu's commitment to fostering talent and innovation in the engineering field.

Here, we delve into the personal journey of our first ever Accu Scholarship winner - an aspiring engineer who applied for the “Building Tomorrow’s Visionaries” award. This individual, already familiar with Accu through their involvement with IMechE Formula Student team Warwick Racing, found the scholarship’s unique application process intriguing as it perfectly aligned with their own values and aspirations.

For this applicant, the Accu Scholarship represented not just financial assistance, but an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in their studies and engineering projects, particularly their role at Warwick Racing. Winning the scholarship would mean a significant reduction in the financial and time constraints they faced, allowing them to leave their part-time job to fully focus on their academic and engineering pursuits.

So, let’s meet Harneet - our inaugural undergraduate Accu Scholarship winner and find out just how big of an impact the award has had on his life as a young engineer.

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What Made You Apply For The Accu Scholarship?

I had recognised Accu from back when a teammate at Warwick Racing ordered plastic bearings for our gearbox concept that we took to competition at the iMechE Formula Student event.

After seeing Accu’s Scholarship on the Blackbullion student funding platform, I found the first application question - reading one of Accu’s Industry News articles and writing a commentary about it - quite unique, so I decided to give the application a go.

Looking further into Accu, their mission of ‘Building Tomorrow’ spoke to me and ultimately encouraged me to give my all with my application in the hopes of securing the scholarship funding.

Harneet with the Warwick Racing Formula Student team at Silverstone

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What Inspired You To Become An Engineer?

My interest in science and cars goes way back to my childhood; I used to watch wildlife TV shows on National Geographic in Delhi and sketch my own drawings of cars. As I grew up, this interest eventually made its way into my studies when I chose to study the three sciences in the 3rd year of secondary education in Belgium.

Around this time, I also started watching more engineering & science based YouTube channels like Steve Mould, The Action Lab, Veritasium and Carwow. Inspired in part by all of these interests, I think it’s fair to say that I am usually the tech-savvy guy in my friend groups - mostly because I like to dig deep into the settings of devices and understand how they work. 

After finishing the equivalent of year 11 in Belgium, my family and I moved to the UK in November 2019. Since the academic year had already started, the schools we visited in Wolverhampton didn’t agree to enrol me. I felt this was a critical time in my academic journey, so thankfully, following 4 months of struggling to secure a place at a school to further my studies, I eventually ended up going to the City of Wolverhampton College in January 2020.

Unfortunately though, despite finally securing enrolment at the college, I was not satisfied with the Functional Skills English and Maths that I was learning. I became acutely aware that English and Maths GCSEs were the bare minimum qualifications required to survive in the UK. So, after a lot of work convincing the college that it was essential to my development, I finally got myself enrolled in those courses. A couple of weeks after joining the class, the first lockdown happened.

With the combination of my strong results from Belgium and the English and Maths GCSEs I was actively working towards, I was accepted to study Maths, Physics and Chemistry A-Levels at sixth form. I thoroughly enjoyed Physics, especially Mechanics. In spite of having a really bad Mechanics teacher, it thankfully did not affect my love for it one bit!

Fast forward to when I began looking ahead to degree courses - the academically heavy side of Physics at University really didn’t appeal to me as I wanted a more hands-on engineering experience. This meant that applying to study Mechanical Engineering was the most natural route of progression for me.

Shortly after starting my first year at Warwick University, I discovered that the Dynamics module of my course wasn’t adding further value to me, as I was already gaining strong relevant experience from joining the university’s Formula Student team; Warwick Racing.

So, after careful consideration, and having picked up coding quite well throughout my first year studies, I decided to branch out and change course to the Systems Engineering degree. Despite the change, I am still very much interested in working as a Design Engineer. My degree is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, suggesting that it would still equip me well for such roles.

My current goal is to continue building upon the experiences from working with Warwick Racing and pursue a career in the motorsports or other performance engineering industries.
 Harneet working with the Warwick Racing team at Formula Student

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What Are You Involved In Outside Of Engineering?

Since first arriving in the UK in 2019, I’ve been actively involved with 2 charity organisations ‘We Belong’ and ‘Refugees UK’, helping immigrants with education, finding work and integrating into society. If anybody would like to learn more about my education journey in the UK and the great work carried out by charities like these, they can read my interview for Refugee Week 2021 on the Refugee Education UK website.

It’s very important to me to help play an active role in making a positive change for the future. For me, this is exactly what Engineering is all about, so applying for the Accu Scholarship could only help me to make a difference.
 Harneet is actively involved with UK Charity 'Refugee UK'

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How Has Winning The Accu Scholarship Impacted Your Life?

First and foremost, Accu’s Scholarship is really alleviating the financial burden that I have been carrying since starting the 2nd year of my engineering course.

Amidst the chaos of staying on top of studies, I’ve also had a number of big group projects and assignment deadlines. Further to this, my role as a drivetrain engineer at Warwick Racing now demands more work than ever before. Combining this with travelling, my weekend job at a local supermarket and submitting internship applications; I’ve been busy to say the least!

Thanks to the Accu Scholarship, I can now focus better on my studies, internship applications and my work with Warwick Racing, leaving my part-time job behind and finding myself less stressed and having to find compromises.

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Tell Us Your Favourite Engineering Feat

I think my favourite engineering feat is a recent video of Atlas from Boston Dynamics, where it identifies the need to add a plank of wood to a missing section of the obstacle course, before acrobatically completing it and delivering the set of tools.

I find the bit at the end particularly amusing where Atlas is showing off its skill with a flip.

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What Would Your Ideal Engineering Career Look Like?

Harneet promoting Warwick Racing team to students at Warwick UniversityCurrently, I am studying Systems Engineering at the University of Warwick, after switching from General Engineering. I spoke to Mechanical Engineers before this and found that there seemed to be a saturation of them struggling to secure jobs after graduation. I felt that Systems Engineering, and in particular the coding elements taught on the course, would open up more opportunities, including tech jobs.

With all that said, I would definitely want a career that would keep me mentally stimulated. I have gained tremendous appreciation for being able to tinker and build things at university and am very grateful for all of the hands-on projects included in the engineering programme at Warwick.

A good example of this is when myself and Drivetrain sub-team members from Warwick Racing Formula Student team were building a mount for a part that would go on the racecar. This gave me the experience I’ve enjoyed the most in my Engineering career so far - brainstorming with teammates about where and how we could mount this part, along with critically thinking of ways to improve current designs.

The ideal engineering career for me would be the position of an electromechanical systems engineer, because it would allow me to nicely combine my degree knowledge with the design/ mechanical work that I have been doing outside studies and with Warwick Racing.

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What Are Your Career Goals?

I value being content with what I do more than getting the most prestigious job. My short term goal is to find a job in a company environment that values their team and offers encouragement to grow, explore and develop, with the freedom to make mistakes without being criticised, but instead nurtured.

Longer term, I would definitely want to try building a business of my own in the engineering space, but as of yet, I am unsure what shape or form that would take.

Once I’ve achieved my goals and have the financial security to do so, I would like to retire by opening a second-hand charity bike parts and hardware store, very much like Cancer Research UK or British Heart Foundation.

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Looking To Apply For The Accu Scholarship?

Inspired by Harneet's story? Looking for a similar headstart? If you’re a young engineering student looking for guidance, advice and much needed financial support then look no further.

Accu is here to help you achieve your goals and kickstart your engineering career. Apply now for the Accu Scholarship for your chance to access essential funding during your degree. Let’s get building tomorrow, together.