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Learning, experiencing and exploring at TME R&D Open Day

Toyota Technical Centre welcomes the next generation of engineers
There is a saying 'find a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life'. But even with passion at the forefront, finding “it” can be a long journey. Our Technical Centre invited students to kick-start theirs by exploring career possibilities during Toyota’s R&D Open Day.

Behind the scenes at the Technical Centre

Toyota’s annual R&D event allows for participants to experience first-hand the work at our Technical Centre while also exploring internship and job opportunities. This year, 140 graduate students, with a range of backgrounds from Business to Mechanical Engineering, joined to learn about Toyota’s cutting-edge R&D processes and what an engineer’s workday looks like. Toyota matched students’ diverse interests by presenting several areas of vehicle development and the array of ongoing projects. 
“My background is in Computer Science and I am really interested in the optimisation of processes, data driven optimisation. I think Toyota would be the perfect place to do that because it is right at the edge of research and brings so much to the industry.“
Shan, student in Computer Science

Enhancing education with learning from experience

Participants engaged in informal discussions with their potential future colleagues during the “Meet the Engineer” session. They were able to learn in detail about the concrete work of the different R&D areas - Powertrain - Vehicle Performance Evaluation – Electronic Design – Material Evaluation – Chassis Design – Body Design – and also about how these teams come together to go full circle from concept development to a fully finished product.
“It was a day full of valuable experiences. It's impressive how multiple engineers working on different parts of the car come together to form a whole car. From idea to vehicle, it's incredible. Definitely something to do without hesitation.“
Aleck, student in Mechanical Engineering

Technology up-close

In yet another highlight, participants were offered an immersive experience through guided tours of the Technical Centre’s state-of-the-art facilities. Showcasing the innovation that drives the projects forward, the hydrogen tour unveiled the latest advancements in fuel cell technology, the Vehicle Performance Evaluation tour provided insights into the evaluation processes crucial for project viability, and the From Style Clay to Final Production Drawing Tour illustrated how ideas are transformed into reality. Each tour sparked questions of interest from students on the type of tools and software used in such roles and what skills they need to learn to be able to work in these areas.

R&D Day as a stepping-stone to meaningful careers

It was encouraging for students to hear that for many Toyota engineers, previous R&D Open Days marked the start of their career journeys in the company. The main aim of the event is exactly to turn interest into opportunity, and it does so through introducing participants, as part of the day’s programme, to the available internships and Graduate Development Programme (GDP). GDP is an 18-month programme for recent graduates to kick-start their career in the best possible way – from being assigned a real job, to undergoing relevant trainings and receiving a competitive salary.  

“I even had a 10-minutes interview with 2 of the attending engineers – it was a really good quick interview session. This event gave me an opportunity to pitch forward my profile directly in front of the interviewer, as they know exactly what they want."
Rajath, recent graduate from Netherlands

Women in Engineering

During the event, there was also a dedicated booth “Women in Engineering”. As the profession is still largely thought of as a ‘male-dominated field’, we are continuously working to improve that statistic. We find that even small details in approaches make a difference – for example, at job fairs, we have more female engineers that attend and encourage people that maybe wouldn’t normally apply for automotive positions to think “this could be a good option for me”. Inclusivity and diversity are a priority all throughout Toyota, and we want to ensure we create an environment where this equals opportunity, not a challenge. 
“I think it is really great if you just follow your passion, no matter your gender. If you really like engineering and if you are interested in the cars and the technologies behind them, you should just go for it!”
Nele Dewagtere,TME engineer, Body Design 21

Did you know…

Toyota’s European R&D Centre is in Zaventem, Belgium, the only automotive company in the country for which this is the case. Around 900 people representing more than 40 different nationalities work to be part of the pivotal role in research and development. The Centre’s primary focus is on European leading technology fields and promoting technical research through an EU network. It actively collaborates on leading-edge research items such as batteries, technology for automated driving, and the development of new materials.