Ivan was Red Lion’s first engineer who took on the challenge and started working in China from Apr 2015 for more than one year.Currently Ivan is engaged as a Project Director with Geely in Cixi, China. Prior to China, Ivan had over 20 years experience in vehicle system design and integration, has worked for global OEMs including Tickford, later Prodrive and Ford Australia. Ivan also lived and worked in Thailand and other Asean countries for shorter periods.
I have recently asked Ivan to share some of his thoughts on his experiences in China.
In terms of his decision of leaving Australia and work in China “The greatest obstacle was leaving family and friends to be able to take advantage of a career opportunity, and deciding how long is enough and not knowing what to expect in a Chinese work environment.”
What he found the auto industry in China was “Chinese vehicle development processes are not as matured as with companies in developed countries and the Chinese automotive engineers generally lack experience and can learn greatly from engineers from Australia“.
In terms of his experience, what he found fulfilling was ” The opportunity to be exposed to new emerging vehicle technologies, particularly with lightweight BIW structures, HMI and Electric Vehicles. From career development side, to have had the opportunity to develop and lead Chinese engineers and teams”
Would he recommend his experience to others? “I would recommend engineers who want to continue to evolve and remain current with the global automotive business will find that China can provide this. Not only are vehicle designs changing, but our society and how we will interact with our cars. China provides a glimpse into the future and is not far away from delivering truly global market capable vehicles”
Some tips for others “ It is best to begin work in China through a contract agency as many expats find the workplace and Chinese culture significantly different to their Chinese experience in Australia. A contract enables the engineer to decide whether they are compatible to the Chinese environment and can manage their life away from home”