Ford Owners Club
Monday 24 June 2013

Roberto Antonio Pace, the winner of the 2012 Autocar Courland Award is more than half-way through his work experience prize, having completed one month each at McLaren, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover and is now working with Peugeot in Paris and Coventry.  He will then complete a month with Skoda before spending some time with Autocar.

The Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award, is regarded as the premier automotive industry competition of its type. The 2013 winner will be rewarded with a priceless work experience package comprising one month at each of the contest sponsors – Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Peugeot, Skoda and Toyota – as well as a £7500 cash prize.The contest is run in association with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

“I am absolutely having the time of my life.”  commented Roberto Antonio Pace “I’m certainly in the midst of a fast-track vertical learning curve, the industry is so exhilarating and inspiring and it has been so interesting seeing how different elements of the business work.  It’s definitely where I’d like my career to be. 

“I really do encourage all students to enter the competition, the whole process was so very valuable and I made some great industry contacts in the early stages of the contest.  Winning really was the icing on the cake.”

To enter the competition, students need to answer in 500 words a brief set by Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley and submit their entry via the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award website – – by 2 September 2013.

Brief:   Describe, in no more than 500 words, an idea, innovation or change to corporate policy that would improve the UK automotive business.

The idea could work in any area of the automotive business – from concept through to the sales showroom and aftermarket.

“We’ve seen some really high-calibre candidates coming through the Autocar-Courland Next Generation scheme,” says Ben Gulliver, function group manager (chassis) at McLaren Automotive. “That certainly goes for Roberto. He’s been outstanding from day one, showing a real passion for chassis design and has been working as a real chassis engineer during his time with us.”

Francesco Mereu is Toyota GB’s director of human resources, corporate planning and corporate social responsibility. “Roberto worked on a project that involved analysing how competitors are selling their cars through customisation and how they guide customers through the endless choices that are available.“It’s was a real project. Engagement is an important part of learning and we want Next Generation winners to benefit from their time here.”

“We want our employees to develop into future leaders. Accommodating people like Roberto brings the best out of our own people and gives them that ability to lead. Creatively questioning the norm is working for us. The ability to say ‘why not’ is what interests us about Roberto. I’ve asked him to present the braking idea that won him the NextGen award to our engineering management team.” Commented Technical Specialist for hybrid modelling and simulation, Roberto’s JLR mentor Peter Burchill.

The Autocar-Courland Next Generation contest was launched in 2009 to offer entrants a unique chance to launch an automotive industry career and is run by Autocar in partnership with Courland International and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Submissions will be welcomed from all disciplines, including – but not limited to – engineering, marketing and communications, design and media. Special credit will be given to the originality of entrants’ suggestions.  Successful students who are selected after their initial entry will need to demonstrate how their idea could be made viable and the advantages it would offer.

The six best entrants will attend a mentoring session with one of the assigned judges from the 2013 sponsor companies. This will be followed by the final judging day at the home of Autocar at Teddington Studios, where the entrants make presentations to a panel of leading industry executives from the 2013 sponsor companies. Three finalists will be invited to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ annual dinner on 26 November, where the winner will be announced.

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley said: “The automotive sector is one of the most inspirational, innovative and dynamic sectors to work in, and as with any industry it needs young people. I urge all students to get their thinking caps on and send in their ideas – they have got to be in it to win it – and why would they not want to?”

The winner of the 2012 competition was Roberto Antonio Pace, aged 25, from Kingston University. Roberto’s winning ‘Cylindrical Brake System’ idea represents the third-generation brake system, after drums and discs, and has seen him commence his work experience

Award Partners                  
Courland International

2013 Sponsors                    
Jaguar Land Rover
McLaren Automotive
Toyota GB             

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