Prize-winning graduate joins Sunderland firm Grundfos

Prize-winning graduate James Hedley has turned a competition into a career with Grundfos

James Hedley is flanked by Grundfos General Manager Lee Carlin and Engineering Manager John Austin
James Hedley is flanked by Grundfos General Manager Lee Carlin and Engineering Manager John Austin

Directors at Wearside pump manufacturer Grundfos were so impressed with the student who won their University of Sunderland engineering award that they have given him a job.

James Hedley, 21, won the university’s inaugural Grundfos Engineering Prize for the best engineering project, an entry which involved redesigning the front suspension of a TVR sports car.

After winning the prize, James met with John Austin, engineering manager at Grundfos, who invited him to the company’s Castletown plant for a tour. The tour led to an interview and he has since joined the 200-strong workforce full time.

James, who graduated with a first class degree in automotive engineering and also won the David Crolla Memorial Prize for the best engineering student, said: “Everyone was really friendly, and it seemed like a very modern place to work.

“A few weeks later I got a call to say there was a job going and I was invited in for an interview. I started here a week later as a technician engineer and I’m really enjoying it.

“As part of my ongoing induction, I’ve spent time in each area of the plant, especially on the shopfloor where I’ve seen the pumps being assembled.

“This has been really helpful from an engineering point of view as I now understand exactly how they’re put together. It’s all been great so far, everyone seems very interested in you – you’re not just a number, and everyone is treated with respect.”

Mr Austin said the company was delighted to have James on board.

He said: “He’s obviously very talented, his awards and first class degree are testament to that – but he’s also polite and friendly and has fitted in here very quickly.

“He’s exactly the sort of person we like to employ and I’m sure he’ll do well at Grundfos.”

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