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Graduate of the Year 2017 Winner Raphael Amajuoyi shares his story

What would you tell employers are the most important things about attracting, inspiring and engaging graduate engineers?

I believe that we all aspire to be “better tomorrow than we are today” and this is instrumental when looking to start a career. The most important thing for employers to attract young talent would be to meet this aspiration by offering opportunities for growth and fostering a continual development culture.

What do you remember about the evening?

The CIBSE graduate of the year 2017 awards evening was a very special one for me. It’s very hard to find one word or sentence that summarises the experience because there was a lot to take in. Arriving at the IMechE around 16:00 for protocol briefing, meeting the competition whilst trying to suppress the nerves was the biggest challenge of the evening for me.

I remember getting ready for my mic-check and staring into the empty auditorium hoping that I would be able to deliver my presentation as I had done several times in the mirror at home. The welcome reception was important as it allowed me to come down to mingle with family, friends and colleagues before my presentation time at 18:00.

The time has just gone past 18:00 and I have been called from the ‘preparation room’ to get ready. I remember pacing up and down the corridor steaming with anxiety and excitement. The doors open, and I walk up to the podium…and the rest as they say is history.

What inspired you to apply for Graduate of the Year

I sat down at a CIBSE dinner the year prior and was asked by a colleague if I would be willing to submit an entry. At the time, I had been in the industry for approx. 1 year but felt I still had a lot to learn about building services and did not want to rush. I knew I had another year to apply (meeting the maximum 2 years’ post-graduation entry requirement) so decided to sit the GOY 2016 out and continue developing my skills to put a more informed entry forward in 2017.

As a Graduate Consultant in Energy and Sustainability, I felt a lot of attention was geared towards the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers with no significant representation of young professionals working in Sustainability. My GOY application was focused on shedding some light on our subdivision within the industry and provided an opportunity for me to take our perspective in answering this years’ questions.

How did you employer support you during the process and after you won

Hurley Palmer Flatt were amazing through the process and provided me with everything I needed from time and resources to mentorship. I would like to use this opportunity to thank them all (too many individual names to list, but they know who they are) for their help in preparing for the presentation and after winning the award.

What surprised you most about winning Graduate of the Year

One of my main concerns in preparing for the award was the presentation time of 5 minutes. I studied building design and modelling degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level so quite familiar with giving presentations to an audience, however, they were always 10 – 15mins long.

What surprised me the most was how I could get all my points across within the limited time frame.

What would you tell others who are interested in applying for Graduate of the Year

Go for it!

Funnily enough, that’s what I was told, the year prior. It has been an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. I have spoken to past winners and other participants who have all said they do not regret getting involved. The reality is, there can only be one winner, congratulations to whoever that is, but for the rest, the experience is one that will only add to your skillset and benefit you in the future.

How has winning helped you in your career so far?

It has been a vital part in allowing me to grow as a Consultant. Winning the award has given me the confidence to approach challenges with an open mind and element of self-belief to achieve things that seem somewhat impossible.

Hard work, dedication…” has been a fundamental phrase since getting ready for the final presentation. It saw me through to winning the award on the night and hope it will be there for all future challenges yet to come.

First published by CIBSE Blog – 30th May 2018. Original Article here.