The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award has propelled many young, budding professionals into the automotive industry.
Previous finalists and winners have gone on to work at manufacturers such as McLaren, Aston Martin, Ford and Seat, and with entries open for this year’s competition, a new wave of promising innovators is gearing up to pitch its ideas to industry leaders.
Katie Jones, a finalist in 2011, went on to become lead designer for colour and materials for Jaguar’s crucial new SUV, the F-Pace. Here, she tells us how, following on from her Next Generation Award experience, she went from student to designer at a leading manufacturer.
How did you end up working at Jaguar Land Rover?
“I have had a very busy few years. After graduating from the University of Leeds in 2012 with a BA (hons) degree in design and colour technology, I had only one weekend before starting out as an interior designer.
“My first project was designing a high-end car ‘innovation’ showroom, then a 5000-square-foot luxury retail showroom in central London. The showroom displayed bespoke tailor-made suits, handbags and accessories, exclusive handmade furniture, an art gallery, fine wines and champagnes, and it was a really useful project to kick-start my career.
“Working as an interior designer in London was fantastic, but my passion remained with the automotive industry. An opportunity was presented to me to work as a colour and materials designer at Jaguar Land Rover, and I jumped at the chance.
“With the design experience I had, and also additional experiences such as the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award, I was offered my dream job.”