Ben McNeil

Ben McNeil

3rd-year student, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering

A career in engineering has always been on the cards for Ben McNeil who is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering.

“Ever since taking metal technology in years 10 and 11 at school I knew an engineering career was the one for me. I've always had an interest in motorsport, aviation and aerospace, plus I enjoyed maths and physics at school.

“My decision to go to AUT was made for me when I went to the open day, AUT LIVE. After walking around the brand new engineering building, seeing the labs and workshops, and visiting a few lecture theatres I couldn't wait to get started.”

Now in the third year of his degree, Ben already has a good idea how he see his future.

“I chose mechanical engineering because I like to solve practical everyday problems and am very inquisitive about how machines work. When I graduate, I’d love to be involved in the aerospace or aviation industry, and work for Rocket Lab or Air New Zealand. I could also see myself working as an engineer for a Formula 1 team; designing, testing and building the most advanced race cars on the planet.”

A big move
Moving from Gisborne to Auckland to attend university was a little daunting at first, says Ben whose studies are supported by an Eastland Group tertiary engineering scholarship.

“My move from little old Gisborne to the big smoke was very nerve-racking but exciting at the same time. After my first week of living in the AUT student accommodation near the City Campus I began to enjoy the city life and had found my home for the next four years.

“The move was made easier by the student accommodation staff frequently running events that gave me the opportunity to mix and mingle, and make new friends. It also helped that the AUT staff were always only a phone call away if I ever needed any help.”

While Ben is enjoying his new life in Auckland, he also loves coming home to Gisborne over the summer break to work as an engineering intern at Eastland Port, helping him gain the 800 hours of work experience in an engineering environment required for his degree.

The right university environment
He would 100% recommend AUT to any students thinking about a career in engineering, Ben says.

“From the smaller class sizes, the interactions with the academic staff and the interesting learning, to the modern buildings at the AUT City Campus and the relaxed vibe when you walk around, AUT is a great place to study.

“What I’ve enjoyed most about studying mechanical engineering at AUT is that the learning is so practical and relevant to the real world. I’ve also appreciated that the engineering staff are always very helpful and willing to meet one on one to discuss any problems you may be having.”

His advice for other students? Find a good group of students to support you in your studies.

“The advice I’d give other students is to work hard and back yourself in your studies, and surround yourself with a good group of other students. I’ve found that working and studying with a group is a real benefit.”

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