Chetan Kotur, a graduate engineer at Volvo, the Swedish carmaker, had a college dilemma – should he stick to the family tradition and become a doctor, or follow his heart?
“I have always been extremely passionate about and obsessed with cars,” Chetan says. He jokes: “I think my first word as a toddler was actually 'car'!”
His started his automotive career early. “When I was 15 years old, I won a car design competition set by Jaguar Cars to design their ‘car of the future’. This gave me the confidence and belief that I could enter the world of car design,” he says.
But coming from a medical family put him at a crossroad. “I very nearly chose to study medicine at university,” says Chetan. “I went for a careers appointment whilst doing my A-Levels and shortly after, got an amazing opportunity to be part of a Channel 4 television documentary series on career dilemmas.”
It was this program that helped him realize his true vocation: “This experience immersed me into the car design industry.”
Chetan carried out work experience at Jaguar Land Rover's design studio, but his mind was torn again when visited Loughborough University's automotive engineering department.
At this point he decided what he wanted to do; automotive engineering seemed like the perfect path. It paid off; he eventually won the Engineering Leadership Advanced Award, issued by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
“It was truly an incredible, eye-opening experience,” Chetan says. He developed a passion for international engineering, and the award gave him the self-belief and drive needed to become an “industrial leader”.
“From debating key engineering topics at the Houses of Parliament to discussing the greatest global challenges facing humanity with international leaders and volunteering with children in a Favela in Brazil – I met some phenomenal people,” he says.
Through his travels Chetan grew both professionally and personally. “All [of] these experiences help me in my everyday life… And have inspired me to try to make a difference to people's lives.”
The young engineer is on a graduate scheme with Volvo, which enables him to work in various sectors of the automotive industry – complete vehicle engineering and active safety are just some examples.
“Flexibility, a positive and productive culture and excellent development opportunities help to support you to build strong foundations for your career,” he says of his experience at Volvo.
“There is an abundance of opportunities to maximise your potential and really make a difference,” he adds.
According to Chetan, Volvo is the place to be, where he is “constantly pushing the limits of technology [and] design”.
As someone who has been through a career dilemma, he aims to help others in their decision making processes. He even started an initiative at his old college – the Future Engineers Scheme.
“I have created and promoted many STEM initiatives with the companies I have worked for, and [have] also given talks to inspire students to enter this exciting field," he says.
“The engineering industry is competitive – but with self-belief, hard work and determination, you can achieve whatever you want to,” he adds.
Networking is crucial. People are always willing to help young engineers but good communication skills will help you a great deal, he says. “Make the most of any opportunities that come your way. You never know where they may take you.”
He adds: “Find your passion.”