Driven. Student overcomes brain tumour to land ‘dream job’
A University of Huddersfield graduate is on the road to victory after successfully obtaining his ‘perfect job’ with one of the most prestigious engineering companies in the world.
Aftab Afzal, 27, gained a distinction for his Masters in Electronic Engineering at the University of Huddersfield and now has more reasons to celebrate after landing a job with Rolls Royce.
Despite having to take a leave from his studies after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, the skilled engineer returned to complete his qualifications and land his dream job.
Originally from Oman, Aftab will work at the Birmingham branch of Aero Engine Controls (AEC), part of the Rolls Royce Group, where he will help supply engine control equipment for everything from small auxiliary power units through to the largest turbofan.
Speaking about overcoming the challenges which came with his condition, he thanked his family, friends and tutors for their support.
“I have now made a full recovery, although I struggled with my speech and had to learn to walk again” he said.
“I thought I was going to be out of education for a year but my family and tutors were there to support me all the way.”
He added: “If I can do all of this I think anyone can. The support I received from my family and tutor's, especially Dr Peter Mather and Dr Violeta Holmes, was amazing throughout my time here at University. The town is so lovely and friendly as are all the people.
“I am now planning on staying in the UK as I have found my dream job and am now married to the love of my life and have a son. I couldn't be happier. And I owe this to my family, the University of Huddersfield and the very special tutors who supported me throughout.”
Following in the footsteps of his father, who is a civil engineer in Oman, Aftab has always had a real passion for electronics, even fixing his own PlayStation One games console when he was a young boy.
Soon after completing his secondary education from the Pakistan School Salalah, in Oman, Aftab applied to the University of Huddersfield’s engineering degree course.
Despite initial reservations about travelling to the UK due to the struggles of getting work experience, he said he quickly settled into his role at the university and even landed a work-placement in his chosen industry.
He said: “If you are a non-UK national this can often prove very difficult but with the help of the University's placement scheme within the School of Computing and Engineering, in the third year of my BEng degree I took part in a really successful one year work-placement.
“I worked as an industrial engineer for Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems in Peterborough where I got hands on experience in my chosen industry.
“This shows just how successful the University is at helping students get into work during and after their studies.”
Alongside his ‘hands-on’ experience, Aftab was also able to take advantage of the industry standard electronic engineering equipment and facilities available at the university.
Since starting at Rolls Royce, he has already been involved in certification of Trent XWB EEC which has been installed on Trent XWB Engine for Airbus A350.
Dr Violeta Holmes who supervised Aftab for his Master's degree, praised him for all his achievements.
“Gaining a Distinction for his MSc Electronic and Computer Based Systems Design course was such a great achievement given that he had to overcome a serious illness during a part of the course,” she said.
“Aftab had the determination and courage to succeed which is inspirational. He is a creative and very capable engineer and so this was recognised by Rolls Royce who have offered him employment.”