Being Bentley – An insight from a former graduate
Martin Page, a former Bentley graduate gives some top tips for those looking to secure a place on Bentley Motors’ Graduate Programme as well as giving an insight into life after the graduate scheme and the career prospects within Bentley Motors and the engineering world.
Tell us more about your role at Bentley?
Within my role I am responsible for two core elements; the leadership and development of my team and the technical delivery of Body In White (BIW) structures for the relevant vehicle project teams.
How did you get to the position you are in?
I joined Bentley as a graduate in Production Technical Support, working closely with the production colleagues to resolve technical issues on a daily basis. Whilst on the graduate scheme, I was fortunate to experience a number of areas within the Business; Production, Project Management and Pre-Series Planning before being given the opportunity to join the Body and Trim Engineering team and more specifically in BIW Engineering. As an Engineer within the team, I worked on a number of projects, enabling me to take direct responsibility for part development, cross-functional interaction, supplier discussions and validation.
Has your career path run smoothly?
There have been challenges along the way, but that’s no bad thing. You learn most when you’re out of your comfort zone. You also learn to understand what really motivates you, and what you want to achieve in your career. Once you have some clarity in your own objectives it helps significantly. I found it very beneficial to have a plan, which I review regularly to assess my development needs in order to achieve the next phase.
The Bentley logo, a sign of quality
What are the main attributes of a graduate that you look for?
The most important aspect I look for in a prospective graduate is their attitude. Are they motivated, are they passionate about engineering and Bentley, are they able to demonstrate their ability to work hard, to go the extra mile. We’re a relatively compact business so your ability to communicate and cooperate with colleagues is also very important.
Many graduates come into the business with high aspirations, which is a great start and the potential to develop is open to all. The ability to accurately and honestly assess your own development needs is a powerful tool to help this – do you know your 3 areas for development?
Tell us about the graduate schemes that Bentley offers?
Bentley offers a two-year graduate scheme across various departments. Typically, our programmes are placed within Engineering, Manufacturing, Purchase, Quality, Sales & Marketing, Finance, IT, and HR. Within these areas, we will support a graduate with the development of technical knowledge, but also teamwork, presentation, communication, networking and organisation skills through cross-functional business projects, charity activities and school liaison events.
The graduate scheme is developed to give you a rounded skill set appropriate to your home function, but it is also flexible enough for you to influence the experiences you think will help you in your career. This is the first step on the path, and it is your career, so you are encouraged to take ownership of the direction and content.
Bentley's graduate programme is the first step in what could be a successful career within the company
What would you say to a graduate who is thinking of applying for one of the graduate schemes Bentley offers?
Demonstrate passion, work ethic, and your ability to communicate. Consider the area of the business which motivates you, and make a concentrated effort on your application. Think about the relevant experiences you have, and if you do not have relevant technical/work experience focus on the transferable skills you can offer. It is said that the measure of a great team is the quality of its output, and you can see how good the cars are… Competition is high, and this is your chance to put your head above the crowd and be part of that team. Make the most of it.