15 August 2017

If you’re aged 17-25 and fancy working in the car industry, check this out…

Surrounded by shiny new cars of all shapes and sizes, it’s fair to say that job roles in the ‘automotive’ sector are often quite exciting, especially in the UK with some very special car manufacturers out there, from Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover to Aston Martin and McLaren.


Great news for young students and graduates is that there’s a shortage of candidates across the industry, which needs 20,000 young recruits each year, and average salaries in the automotive job market have risen by 33% over the last decade while pay in plenty of other sectors has remained flat.

With entrepreneurial young adults aged between 17 and 25 in mind, Autocar magazine teamed up with Courland Automotive and the SMMT in 2009 to launch the Autocar Courland Next Generation Award. The competition challenges talented young adults to come up with problem-solving ideas or innovations that will improve the UK car manufacturing sector when it comes to mobility, connectivity, sustainability, customer experience or marketing.

The award has proved a successful springboard over the years so far, with 74% of finalists now employed in very cool jobs across the sector. Jonathan who finished as a finalist in 2012 is working at Aston Martin as Lead Engineer for Interior and Exterior Components. Nicola, 2015’s winner, has a great job at McLaren as a Colours and Materials designer, and Katie who reached the finals in 2011 played a key role in Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV.

Young adults who want to apply for the award need to be studying at a UK school, college or university at the time and must be eligible to live and work in the UK. In Katie’s case, she graduated from a design and colour technology degree at Leeds University in 2012 and landed the ‘dream job’ after reaching the award’s final stages.

“Working on the F-Pace was a challenging but very rewarding role, especially seeing the final product come to life. My primary objectives were the development and delivery of both interior and exterior materials and finishes for the car, liaising with design, marketing and engineering along with external suppliers to ensure the design intent and vision was maintained throughout the development process.”

Winners of this year’s Autocar Courland Next Generation Award for 2017 will receive £9,000 in cash, a highly desirable six-month work experience placement that could see them working somewhere as amazing as Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren or even with a few different firms, and plenty of recognition that will look great on a CV.

Six high profile judges including Autocar’s Editor, Honda’s Head of Network Development and the SMMT’s Chief Executive will assess all applications before shortlisting six finalists who will each be mentored by one of the judges. The finalists will then be asked to give a presentation at Autocar’s HQ before the winner is picked and announced at the end of November.


If you’ve always liked the thought of working in an exciting role in the car industry perhaps as a designer but thought it would be too tough to achieve, this could be an unmissable opportunity to get ahead. The deadline for entries is 29 August 2017, so if you’ve got a great idea in mind that could improve the automotive industry, don’t hang around.

Let us know on Facebook if you enter this brilliant talent hunt – and fingers crossed!

Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.