Kalpana Gosai - having loved the Jaguar XJ220 as a child is today working for Jaguar Land Rover’s Quality Strategy department
1 March 2012
My love of science and engineering started when I was a child. I remember being inspired by TV shows to experiment with shrinking empty crisp packets under the grill, watching in amazement when they retained their colour, logo and design - biaxially oriented polypropylene, what a fantastic material! When I ‘borrowed’ my Dad’s screwdriver to undo all the kitchen cupboard handles at the age of seven, he encouraged me to put them back on myself - and I managed it!
Then there was my love of cars and motor racing. I liberated a poster of the amazing Jaguar XJ220 from my older brother’s magazine, and stuck it proudly on my bedroom wall. I was drawn to the beauty of the Jaguar’s shape. It was like art - all curves and swoops, and so elegant...
So it’s no surprise I’ve ended up working for Jaguar Land Rover today. It’s been a fascinating journey - from a memorable week away from home on a WISE (Women Into Science & Engineering) course at the age of 14, through a degree in Materials & Microstructural Engineering, followed by roles as a Materials Consultant at the British Plastics Federation and a Research & Development Project Leader at The Welding Institute. R&D was my dream field - but my childhood dreams of Jaguar cars remained strong. So, one day, I made an on-spec application... and landed a job in Product Development for Jaguar!
I worked on improvements to leather, fabrics and interior plastics materials and their quality performance for five years, before moving to Jaguar Land Rover’s Quality Strategy department. There, I learned how to measure what customers liked and developed processes around ‘Surprise & Delight’ and the ‘Kano Model’. I’m currently working on an exciting project to further enhance our engagement with, and responses to, our global customers’ needs and wants.
I count myself lucky to work with so many great engineers at Jaguar Land Rover. We all benefit from senior managers who take the time to listen to the need for innovative solutions. The company cares about letting engineers do what they do best, and skills enhancement is a key focus of everyone’s development. Further education is also encouraged. I’ve been able to study part-time for my MSc in Engineering Business Management during my career here. What’s more, I’ve always been able to balance my home-life and two children with my work.
Out of work, I am a SETNET Ambassador for Warwickshire, which sees me visit schools throughout the region and encourage children to consider a career in Engineering. It’s a great job, and very varied. As well as giving careers advice to students who enjoy Science and exploring the diverse opportunities available to those who pursue Engineering, I’ve had the privilege of judging a Year 12 car design competition, and made presentations on the importance of Chemistry in Automotive Materials Selection.
A couple of weeks ago, when my 16 year old niece asked me about designing and making things out of plastic for her ‘A’ level project, I was proud and a little excited. She may just turn out to be a chip off the family block… I certainly hope so.
To find out more about current opportunities at Jaguar Land Rover, visit the careers site at www.jaguarlandrovercareers.com