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The VCA Graduate Training Scheme


About our scheme

When you join the VCA, you will be enrolled onto the IMechE MPDS Scheme and assigned a mentor who will support you throughout the graduate scheme and your journey to chartership.   For the first two years, you will follow a structured programme; on-the-job training with our engineers and undertaking both internal and external placements.  Subject to performance you will then be promoted and begin working as a Type Approval Engineer, gaining experience and responsibility in a variety of test subjects with a wide range of manufacturers. 

Placement Timetable:

  • First 6 months will be spent in your base office (either Bristol or Nuneaton) where you will be shadowing other engineers, gaining subject knowledge and undergoing further training (for example, ISO9001, driver training). 
  • 12 weeks at IVS (International Vehicle Standards) or OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), part of the Department for Transport in London – you will be involved in the formation of legislation and development of policy both within the UK and EU.  This can involve a trip to Geneva or Brussels to see the legislation being created as well as projects on road safety.
  • 12 week design project within VCA to improve your design skills. You will be given a brief to design equipment to aid the type approval teams in their testing work
  • 8 weeks at a vehicle manufacturer, usually UK based.  Past manufacturer placements have included supercar manufacturers, bus manufacturers, wheelchair access vehicle manufacturers and small series manufacturers.  You will be working on design projects and gaining an understanding of the work we do from the manufacturer’s perspective.
  • 8 weeks in a VCA overseas office: either Nagoya, Japan or Michigan, USA – you will meet our engineers from around the world (who you will be working and communicating with in the future) and experience other working cultures.  You also experience how other manufacturers work and broaden your awareness of the world of type approval. 
  • Internal placements for approximately 4-8 weeks at the other base office (Bristol or Nuneaton), Technical Support Group department and Conformity of Production department – you will learn about the different areas of VCA and how their work links in with ours.  In these departments you will get experience auditing manufacturers and test houses and will look at type approval from a different perspective.
  • 2 weeks at Millbrook Proving Ground working with the test teams – our usual role is to witness a test.  In your time at Millbrook you will be working with the test teams to set up the tests and see the whole process from their perspective. 


James Diwell, Graduate Scheme Co-ordinator and Senior Type Approval Engineer

I joined the VCA graduate scheme in 2011, and the experiences I gained through the graduate scheme were fantastic. One highlight was the time I spent working with a vehicle manufacturer, where I was able to design a vehicle seat adjustment mechanism, and then have it tested to ensure it met the relevant vehicle safety requirements. The scheme helped develop me as a person and as an engineer, and enabled me to become chartered a few years ago. It’s great to now be able to help other people through the same journey I went through, and I’d recommend the graduate scheme to anyone wanting to work in the automotive industry due to the sheer variety of the work VCA do.


How to Apply and Next Steps

To apply please go to the Civil Service job site.  For more information, contact the Graduate Scheme Coordinator via


To find out more information about the graduate scheme please click on the links below:

VCA Graduate Scheme

About our scheme

Graduate requirements

Our graduates

Graduate benefits