Bolton School Former Pupils
Amy Durrant (née Grace, 1993-2003)
Occupation: Project Support Engineer, Test and Validation Department, Bentley Motors
Qualifications: MA Automotive Engineering, Qualified Chartered Engineer
How did you progress to your current role and what does your job involve?
I received sponsorship from Leyland Trucks whilst at Loughborough University, where I completed a Masters degree in Automotive Engineering. Upon graduation in 2007, I started at Bentley on their Graduate Development Programme and, whilst on the Programme, I continued my Professional Development with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 2011 I became a Chartered Engineer. After two years in Weight Management (setting weight targets, predicting weights and then weighing prototype and production vehicles), I decided to make the shift towards Project Management. I am now responsible for our work on the Continental and Flying Spur platforms and ensure that each of our teams is doing the right work at the right time, whilst keeping track of the budget.
Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
Good communication is essential – I liaise both ways between my team and the Whole Vehicle Integration team. I also use problem-solving skills, planning and organisation and even language skills - Bentley is part of the VW group, so I have regular contact with our German colleagues. Speaking fluent German is extremely useful.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the variety it gives me and also the opportunity to drive some of the most luxurious and powerful vehicles in the world.
What are the biggest challenges in your current role?
Working to a tight deadline and budget is definitely a challenge. It is vital that our cars are of the highest quality so we cannot cut any corners.
What/who influenced your career choice?
Formula 1 was one of my biggest hobbies, so my plan was to study Engineering and then join a Formula 1 team, whilst getting the engineering experience during my summer placements at Leyland Trucks. At University, we competed in the Formula Student Competition (almost like a junior F1) and this put me off a bit as there wasn’t much chance of getting a drive! Although I had a guaranteed job at Leyland Trucks, I wanted something a bit more interesting. After turning down jobs at Perkins and Toyota, I was eventually offered the job at Bentley.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
Delivering the weight of the New Continental GT to target.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
Bolton School gave me the choice to pursue something slightly different and the confidence and determination to follow it through.
What advice would you give to our pupils interested in your field of work?
Try to get some work experience in a relevant company – it’s very difficult to describe what an Engineer actually does on a daily basis because it covers such a broad range of skills. Having an interest in Maths and Science is of course very important but so are problem-solving, communication and business skills.