Many of Xtrac’s Engineering staff have passed through Oxford Brookes University which offers a multitude of motorsport degree course covering areas such as Motorsport Engineering, Motorsport Technology and Race Engine Design from Foundation to BSc, either with full time or part time sandwich courses.
Xtrac have enjoyed close links with Oxford Brookes for many years and value the opportunity to feedback to current students learning towards a career in Motorsport.
Recently two successful members of Xtrac’s engineering staff, Assistant Chief Designer Spencer Ford and Principal Engineer Mark Brogden, visited Oxford Brookes to make a presentation on their career paths.
Spencer Ford who joined Xtrac in 1996 explained his progression through his apprenticeship at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and time at RE Thompsons before joining Xtrac to work a CNC machining centre. Ford quickly progressed into the Production Engineering department and then to becoming the lead engineer for Xtrac’s Formula One projects including heading up the track support operation. Spencer now also leads Xtrac’s Formula E programmes which are at the cutting edge of transmission technology.
Mark Brogden was an Oxford Brookes graduate in 2010 and now has eight years direct motorsport experience behind him. Brogden started his four year sandwich course in Automotive Engineering BEng in 2006 before securing a yearlong industrial placement with Xtrac in 2008, before being sponsored by Xtrac to complete his final year, and then after graduation becoming a Design Engineer. Being one of only four successful applicants from a selection of over 200 reinforces the quality of Brogden’s engineering skills acquired at Oxford Brookes.
Xtrac believes that integrating placement students into real projects following a two month induction period, gives them valuable experience to move forward rapidly to responsible positions with confidence, and enables them to work on actual racing transmission programmes from the very start of their placement.
After returning from his final year at Oxford Brookes with a first class honours degree, Brogden joined Xtrac’s Rally engineering team as a Design Engineer, and then moved across to the Touring Car engineering team. Having gained experience in these various areas and also undertaking secondments to Xtrac’s commercial team and to Xtrac Inc. in Indianapolis, USA, allowed Brogden to gain sufficient experience to progress through being a Senior Design Engineer to now heading up a key Touring / Sportscar engineering team as a highly valued Principal Engineer.
Through their presentation to the students at Oxford Brookes, Ford and Brogden hope to have inspired others and shown a strong and proven route from University to a senior engineering position with real trackside experience.