Autocar – Courland Next Generation Award

Oliver Brunt from Northumbria University has won top prize in the 2011 Autocar Courland Next Generation award, a national competition that aims to identify, support and develop top automotive talent of the future.

Oliver’s much coveted prize comprises £7,500 prize money and 5-months work experience with the award sponsors –  McLaren Automotive, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Peugeot and Skoda.

Oliver was awarded top prize for his innovative idea – a socially integrated heads up display – SHUD.  An invention that projects real time integrated essential safety information from emergency services and navigation systems onto the windscreen, an idea that could substantially reduce accidents and make roads much safer.

Speaking at the awards on his achievement, Oliver Brunt said “I’m literally overwhelmed by the announcement.  The competition has and will change my life.  The people I have met have been welcoming and supportive throughout the competition process and have treated all the finalists with great respect and warmth.  To all the people at Autocar, Courland, the SMMT and sponsors I really cannot thank you enough.  It’s been a true joy meeting such passionate people and I am inspired to make every second count for the great opportunity this competition has afforded me.  I wish Katie Jones and Callum Nash every success for their future, they were great finalists and they both have great futures ahead of them”.

Callum Nash from Coventry University and Katie Jones from the University of Leeds were named very worthy runners-up.

The announcement was made during the annual Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders dinner in London on the 22nd November 2011.

Name University Course Home Town
Oliver Brunt
Idea – SHUD System – Social Heads Up Display
Callum Nash
Transport and Product
Idea – The Opus – A new model for personal transport
Katie L Jones
University of
Design and Colour
Welwyn Garden City
Idea – Radiance – the next colour and trim design innovation

Autocar Editor in Chief, Steve Cropley said: “Oliver’s idea is really impressive and something that we as judges could see going the distance into production.  Additionally his presentation was very thorough, he has a good understanding of business and he’s very personable.  I shall be following his career with interest.  Callum Nash and Katie Jones are not to be forgotten, being a runner-up in this National competition is something they should be very proud of.”

Kevin Gaskell, Chairman, Courland International, commented: “Oliver Brunt is a very professional young man, he possesses all the skills necessary to be successful in whichever career he chooses.  I can see him being an excellent appointment, bringing lots of added value to the company that is lucky enough to secure his services in the future.  I shall also be watching the careers of Callum Nash and Katie Jones, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them join the automotive industry too.”

From all the entries received, 12 candidates were selected and given the opportunity to attend an assessment day to present their idea to a panel of senior industry executives.  The judges then selected 6 candidates to attend a Dragons’ Den style presentation session, from which 3 candidates were selected for the next stage.  All three finalists attended the SMMT dinner where Oliver took top prize.

The Next Generation Award was launched to offer entrants a unique chance to launch a coveted automotive industry career and is run in partnership with Courland Automotive – the automotive people specialists – and the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders. The 2011 award is backed by McLaren Automotive, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Peugeot and Skoda.

The Brief – Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2011

Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award entries should be no more than 500 words long and written in English. They should also include images or illustrations, if relevant.

“Using your area of expertise, write a 500-word proposal suggesting some improvement (be it an invention, a legislative change, a change to corporate policy or the adoption of a new convention) which you believe would be a worthwhile benefit to the automotive business, on a small or large scale.”

McLaren Automotive Judge Neil Patterson, Chief Engineer
Toyota GB Judge Francesco Mereu, Director HR
Skoda Judge Catherine Sleigh, Head of Press & PR
Peugeot Judge Andrew Didlick, Director of Communications
Mercedes-Benz Retail Judge Rachael Edwards, Senior HR Business Partner
Courland (International) Judge Kevin Gaskell, Chairman
Autocar Judge Steve Cropley. Editor in Chief
SMMT Judge Paul Everitt, Chief Executive
Supported by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Previous Winners

2009 Mohsin Basharmal Coventry University
2010 Hari Meyyappan Loughborough University
2011 Oliver Brunt Northumbria University

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