This page was last updated on 11th October 2022

Graduate Training Programme

Are you completing an electrical or mechanical engineering degree? Are you looking to shape the future of the automotive industry? Do you have the vision to support the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles? 

If the answer is yes, then we have an opportunity for you. 

We run a world-class Graduate Training Programme with more than 30 years of experience, and we’re looking for the next intake of graduates to join us. 

You’ll have access to ground-breaking and emerging automotive technology in one of the most exciting and innovative engineering sectors currently available, and we’ll support you with your ambition to become a Chartered Engineer. 

 


Meet Minhaj 

 




Apply to be a Graduate Engineer (Electrical Discipline)

Applications close Monday 7 November 2022

How it works

You’ll join our training programme, which will lead you to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status with either the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) or Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The programme lasts four years, and you’ll spend the first two years on both internal and external placements in the UK and overseas.  The final two years will see you take up a permanent position with us. Throughout your journey, you’ll be assigned a mentor who will guide you every step of the way. 

 

 

Years one and two

You’ll work with subject matter experts across a diverse range of automotive transport sectors and have the chance to attend placements at our UK offices in Bristol and the Midlands, and in one of our overseas offices in Japan, the USA or China. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend time with some of our key stakeholders based in the Department for Transport (DfT) and with our industry technical placement partners, who are some of the most advanced vehicle manufacturers and innovative development companies in the world. 

 

 

 

Years three and four

For your final two years in the programme, you’ll take up a permanent engineering position with us. You’ll have the opportunity use the training and experience you’ve gained by putting it into practice in the automotive sector, where you’ll shape the environmental and safety performance of vehicles around the world. 

The work you do will make a real difference. 

Minhaj, Graduate Engineer

I joined the VCA Graduate Training Programme in September 2019 and it has been quite an exciting journey for me starting from day one. I still remember my first day at our Bristol office clearly, receiving a warm welcome from everyone and getting to learn about all the systems and procedures, and it honestly feels like it just a short while ago even though it’s been exactly three years today since I joined!

From the start, I felt like I had a plenty of support, especially in the first few months where the learning curve is relatively high. However, my colleagues made me feel welcome and I was soon joining them on numerous tests ranging from trailers, motorhomes, components, emissions, crash tests, vehicle dynamic tests, and more. I received continuous support and feedback for my professional growth, and the scheme being accredited by the IMechE facilitates greatly in achieving Chartered Engineer status, which is something I’m currently working towards.

The placements on the scheme offered one of the best ways to understand more of the business, and as I checked them off one by one from the list, it gave me a better sense of the world of type approval. Along with spending time within various departments within VCA, I also worked with the Department for Transport, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick, and most recently I completed my overseas placement with our office in Japan. I have had a soft spot for Japan since my teenage years, and just like my unwavering passion for cars, that soft spot always remained, and I have had one of the best experiences so far. It was everything I had hoped for, and much more!

Overall, the scheme not only honed and developed my engineering skills, but I can proudly say it expedited tremendous personal growth too.

Most recently I completed my overseas placement with our office in Japan. I have had a soft spot for Japan since my teenage years, and just like my unwavering passion for cars, that soft spot always remained, and I have had one of the best experiences so far. It was everything I had hoped for, and much more!

Minhaj, Graduate Engineer

Katie, Graduate Engineer

The programme is perfect for anyone with a passion for automotive and the desire to become a Chartered Engineer. It’s an exciting place for car fanatics, where you get to work on vehicle projects not yet in the public consciousness and get hands-on with innovative technologies.

The scheme itself is set up to hit all core competencies to allow you to become a Chartered Engineer. Placements often allow autonomy, allowing you to take ownership of projects and use your initiative. Skills you’ve learnt at university also come in very useful – your core mechanical engineering skills are, of course, used daily when carrying out vehicle testing. The design placement has seen me use computer-aided engineering (CAE) and manufacturing skills.

My placements have included a manufacturer’s site, where I improved my coding skills, working within a research team on cutting edge automated vehicle technologies. I’ve also spent months based at VCA Japan and in London with DfT, as well as a week in Geneva and various places in the UK. You really do get the opportunity to travel and see the world.

You can be hands-on in a testing lab, workshop or on track, working on any vehicle from high-end supercars to fire engines. Working at the VCA offers you variety like no other job in the automotive industry.

Working at the VCA offers you variety like no other job in the automotive industry. You can be hands on in a testing lab, workshop or on track working on any vehicle from high end supercars to fire engines. It also offers the opportunity to travel and see the world.

Katie, Graduate Engineer

Chris, Type Approval Engineer

I successfully finished my Graduate Training Programme programme in 2022 after four years of studying at the VCA, where I’ve now earnt the status of Incorporated Engineer (IEng) with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The programme has given me the opporunity to travel the world, which is definitely quite unique for a young person to have the opportunity to do, and I’ve been able to really understand the changing legislation and regulations in the automotive industry.

I’ve worked closely with our office in Japan on international placement, supporting the UK automotive industry with type approval testing, and worked with some brilliant people across the VCA, including my mentor who has guided me over the last four years.

During my placement, I had the opportunity to work with one of our customers, Ariel Motor Company, as well as the Health and Safety Executive, and the International Vehicle Standards department at the Department for Transport. It’s been a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to the road ahead.

 

 

 

 


 

Application process

1: Application

Submit your application


As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete a CV and personal statement. For the personal statement, you will be asked to provide explanations against the criteria listed in the “How to Apply” section of the advert. 

You’ll only move on to the next round if you’ve successfully passed the previous one. If you pass the initial application sift, you’ll be invited to undertake a full day at our assessment centre.

2A: Assessment

Visit our assessment centre


This will consist of: 

  • A group exercise where you will work with others to resolve an engineering problem and present your findings back to the panel. 
  • A practical assessment where you will work as an individual presented with a realistic engineering problem that you will need to complete. 
  • A written exercise where again you will work as an individual with a fixed time to complete the task.  

2B: Interview

Come for an interview


The final assessment on the day will be in the form of an interview where we will assess your suitability using success profiles to assess your behaviours and technical knowledge. 

Click here to find out more about Success Profiles on the GOV.UK website. 

Click here to find out more about the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) Career Framework on the GOV.UK website. 

 

 


Interested in applying?

Click here to get in touch with the team for more information.

 


 

The programme has given me the opporunity to travel the world, which is definitely quite unique for a young person to have the opportunity to do, and I've been able to really understand the changing legislation and regulations in the automotive industry.

Chris, Type Approval Engineer