“Young people should aspire to be engineers because you have the possibility to create something, or to make something better to help improve lives.”
So says Karen Cooper, who joined McLaren in January 2016 as a systems engineer working in McLaren Applied after having worked at Rolls-Royce for five years as a design engineer.
Life as a systems engineer
“As a systems engineer, my role involves bringing teams together within McLaren Applied to work alongside collaborators, to find a solution to challenges they are experiencing within their own businesses.
“This requires me to understand technical detail as well as business opportunities.
“The most challenging aspect of my role is trying to get two parties to reach an agreement regarding a solution, either internally or with clients, which tests my negotiation skills.”
But what convinced Karen to choose a career as a systems engineer?
“I wanted to be a systems engineer because my attributes of seeing the whole system and integrating technical specialists ultimately delivers a solution.
“There’s no better feeling than knowing your day job helps to improve people's lives, whether it’s making cars safer or making industrial processes more efficient and more environmentally friendly.”
“The culture isn’t hierarchal. It feels like everyone is at a level playing field and everyone can voice their opinions and share their ideas. It’s this progressive culture which is one reason why we’re growing so quickly.
“I have the opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds from around the world who are so personable. Everyone is on the same mission to push their professional development to the maximum and work every day to improve lives in whatever we do”, she says.
“The breadth of projects I have the opportunity to work on makes my role exciting.
“At McLaren I have already worked on four projects in one year. Working on a variety of projects has meant I have gained exposure to multiple industries and developed a diverse portfolio of knowledge applicable to healthcare, heavy industry and automotive projects.
“Things just get done here. If you have an idea, it gets discussed, planned, and then delivered.
“The McLaren Technology Centre is an incredibly inspirational place to work. There’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into making us feel comfortable at work, which we all appreciate. I even brought my parents in for a tour which employees can book in, and they got to see where I work, which was a very proud moment for me and my parents.”
Personal and professional development
“Multiple training courses have been provided to me, including the ISO 26262 safety course because I was working on a Vehicle Module Controller, which is valuable to a systems engineer.
“My biggest achievement so far is getting the system requirement out for the Vehicle Motion Controller for a company I can’t name!”
“I’m hoping engineers read this and think, ‘I want to join a company that improves lives too’. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or which company you currently work for, if you have the desired skills and level of passion to make a difference, you will fit in at McLaren Applied.”