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Working on a Live Brief

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

13 February 2023

Profile photo of Sophie Pettit

Sophie writes of her real-time employer project experience as part of her degree study.

Through both trimesters of my first, and now my second year, I have worked with a team to construct a product based on the specifications given.  In my case, as an engineering student, this takes place in the first week of the project module.

During the first year, we worked with Antobot, a robotics technology company, on the design and manufacture of a weedkiller mechanism.  During the second year, we were given the task of designing and manufacturing a hybrid drone (one which walks and flies) for BAE systems.

During these talks with the companies, we judged the level of work needed to be done to create the best product for our customers.

Throughout the trimesters we worked on many different aspects of running a project, such as project management, design skills, manufacturing, and workshop skills, and also being able to present ideas in front of a class of people. One of the best aspects of this project-based coursework was being able to work as a team to create something different and unique.

One surprising thing I learnt from both opportunities was that not everyone is on the same level in terms of skills. As someone who can use all workshop equipment and code, working with people who didn’t have the knowledge I did was definitely a learning curve, but it helped me understand that all team members have their own individual strengths and we each have a part to play in the project success.

If given a Live Brief again next year, I would love to take part as it gives you something to work towards and helps you gain experience in project-based work. It also allows you to gain real life experiences and explore possible career pathways.

Some top tips for working towards the specifications given to you by the Live Brief:

  • Stay on top of what you need to accomplish. Write a checklist of all the things that need to be done in order to accomplish the goals that are set. Create a simple timing plan for specific deadlines.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the fact that you are working for someone who is an external employer. This probably makes it easier for you to access information about the Live Brief and will enable you to gain insight into what you are actually doing for this Live Brief.

One thing that I would do to improve the Live Brief is to have more interaction with the employer or researcher that you are working with. Ongoing communication between the employer and the students enables us to gauge a better understanding of what they want us to do for the Live Brief and ascertain what is best for us to do to improve.  

Overall, the Live Brief is a great way of connecting students with employers, as well as giving the students an insight into the type of process that we will undergo when we are in the world of work.

By Sophie Pettit, MEng Automotive Engineering & Employability Student Activator

Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.