As the September cut-off date looms for this year's Next-Generation Award, 2013 winner Jake Larsson shares his tips for success
Darren Moss
15 August 2014

The deadline for the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award is fast approaching, with entries closing on 1 September.

The award, which was launched in 2009 and aims to help UK-based students kick-start a career in the automotive industry, is supported by leading car makers Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Peugeot, Skoda and Toyota

A top prize of a month of work experience at each of these manufacturers is on offer, alongside a cash prize of £7500.

Entrants must answer a brief set by Autocar editor in chief Steve Cropley, which is to "describe, in no more than 500 words, an idea, innovation or change to corporate policy that would improve the UK automotive business".

Previous winners of the award include Roberto Antonio Pace, who is now working at McLaren. Other winners currently have jobs with Aston Martin and JCB.

Last year's winner, Jake Larsson, is currently on his final prize placement with Jaguar Land Rover. He said: "It's been absolutely amazing and totally beyond my expectations. Every company has tried to give me the best experience possible. And it's not been making the tea – I've had real responsibilities.

"I've seen some amazing technologies and innovations, and I've been able to get stuck into some actual products that will be on the road one day."

Larsson's winning idea involved using sensors fitted into the driver's seat to create a 360-degree sensory field of vision, which could warn of possible dangers through vibrations in the seat.

The Cranfield University student also has some top tips for entrants to this year's award: "Come at it from every angle. It really doesn't have to be engineering or design. There's so much innovation that can happen in any aspect of a business, especially in a commercial sense.

"So, if there are any business students out there, or anybody interested in the marketing of a product, I would really encourage them to put your ideas forward because they may actually be used."

Following initial entries, a shortlist of six final designs will be put forward to a judging panel. Finalists will be invited to Autocar's Teddington offices in Teddington, Middlesex, to meet and explain their ideas to the panel.

The award entry form can be downloaded here.

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