When we came up with the idea four years ago, we were instantly convinced that the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award, a competition designed to attract soon-to-graduate university students to jobs in the car industry, could become very successful, very soon. Yet it’s fair to say the competition has become much more successful than any of us imagined — in three key ways.
First, it has attracted far more notice than we ever expected. That has meant its sponsors (who this year will provide a £7500 prize plus a total of six months’ work experience for the winner) have become bigger and more influential. This, in turn, has guaranteed the winner a truly high-powered experience of work in this most vital of industries — and in turn increased the attraction of the competition to top quality students. It’s a virtuous circle.
Just listen to the experience of last year’s Next Gen winner, Oliver Brunt, who impressed the judges with a new form of “social head-up display” or SHUD for short: “The diversity of the Next Gen work experience is giving me a broader understanding not just of the car industry but of many industries. New doors are opening for me all the time. The contacts are priceless.”