There are some jobs that really appeal to the imagination. Take Bert’s job for example: he works as a Test Engineer for Ford cars. This will undoubtedly put a sparkle in many car enthusiasts’ eyes. And rightly so! Would you fancy swapping with him for a day (or two)?
Working in the automotive industry: more than just an office job
Within the Vehicle Dynamics department, Bert is part of the team that's responsible for calibrating Ford Stability Control (FSC), Ford’s in-house stability control. In plain language? ‘Together with the team, I’m responsible for how and when the braking system intervenes in situations where there's a loss of grip (oversteer and understeer), but also in rollover situations,’ explains Bert.
What he particularly appreciates about the job is the good balance between office work and practical aspects: ‘I run various in-vehicle tests to ensure that our calibration satisfies all requirements, and that the vehicle behaviour is influenced in such a way that Ford’s fun to drive character is upheld at the same time. We need to guarantee this on different types of surface, so we often travel to special test sites to test the calibration on snow and ice, for example.’
Bert: ‘The sector is really exciting. I find it particularly interesting to be working on a car’s driving behaviour. We recently delivered the first definitive calibration for a project that I’ve been working on from start to finish over the past two years. I’m really proud of it!’
Important skills within vehicle engineering
Bert: ‘As well as having the right balance of work, I think the atmosphere on the work floor and amongst colleagues is really important in a job. Luckily I’ve found that at Ford. The collaboration runs really smoothly. Over the years I’ve learned that working with people is one of the most important skills you can have.’
‘This might seem obvious, but it isn’t always appreciated,’ adds Bert. It makes the work so much more efficient and better, and especially more enjoyable!’
‘Patience, perseverance and a hands-on mentality are definitely essential too, especially if you’re troubleshooting on a vehicle prototype that isn’t fully ready yet.’
Bert also thinks it’s important to have the necessary management skills: ‘These skills are particularly helpful for supervising teams, and coming up with and implementing new strategies.’
Leave self-driving cars alone for a while
What will the future bring? Bert is very clear about this: ‘From a technical engineering point of view, I hope I can continue to work on developing new powertrains and other technologies. And that self-driving cars don't become commonplace until after I’ve retired, because I still enjoy driving myself!’