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Name: Dr Usman Sikander

KTP Company: TRB Lightweight Structures

Job Title: Sustainable Composites Materials Engineer

Highest Qualification: PhD Advanced Composites (aerospace engineering)


Dr Usman Sikander is a shining example of how Ashorne Hill help KTP Associates develop and grow their critical human skills to take into their professional fields. After completing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering, specialising in Advanced Composites at the University of Bristol, he is now completing his KTP project at TRB Lightweight Structures as a Sustainable Composites Materials Engineer. In this project, Dr Sikander is investigating and creating bio-based and sustainable materials to be incorporated in the aerospace and rail industry. However, whilst completing this KTP project, he has found that overcoming communication barriers and managing expectations to be a challenge to achieve his objectives and goals.

As part of the KTP programme, KTP Associates are enrolled onto Ashorne Hill’s Management Training programme where they receive specialist blended learning experiences to help develop their critical human and business skills. Dr Sikander attended our KTP Management Training Programme in 2023 where he was able to meet with other KTP Associates to further develop his business and management skills. Through completing both modules with our face-to-face and digital blended learning programme, Dr Sikandar praised the learning process at Ashorne Hill and expressed that it was the key highlight of his KTP journey.

Read below about Dr Sikander’s KTP project and his Ashorne Hill learning experience on our KTP programme:

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Read below for Dr Sikander’s success story:


What was the aim of your KTP project?

“We aim to create bio-based and sustainable materials to replace many composite materials already serving the aerospace and rail industry. The materials currently being used are petro-based polymeric materials that embody a high carbon footprint and are toxic to the users as well as the environment. We aim to provide a sustainable solution for this problem.”


What have been the most positive and significant experiences from your project?

“Collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams within the project has been a significant experience as it has enabled me to learn from the experts and implement my learning in a commercial setting. There has also been a great deal of in-depth information from the team to help with the completion of work.”


What were the key challenges you faced?

“The key challenges for me have been to overcome communication barriers, manage expectations and overcome technical difficulties in achieving project goals. The logistical element of this project has also been a challenge as this project has been completed at two different sites, each running on different schedules.”


How did your learning programme with Ashorne Hill help?

“The learning at Ashorne Hill provided me with an in-depth overview of finance and the business side of the project. The course was curated with care and caters to the needs of the KTP Associates. Specifically, elements such as financial management, change management, market research and business simulation have been the most useful and favourable parts of my training. The element of networking with fellow trainees has been a wonderful experience and has been one of the key highlights for me in this project.”


What aspects of the learning programme have you successfully put into practice?

“Stakeholder management, project management, and communication skills are the aspects that I further developed during my time at Ashorne Hill and have incorporated them into practice. The stakeholder management section was especially beneficial as we talked about communication skills which can be a challenge for certain people in a professional sector.”


How would you describe the experience of completing your KTP Management training at Ashorne Hill?

“It was an excellent opportunity to learn different aspects of business and finance, and to network with fellow trainees. Networking was an important skill as SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) are not always in big cities so it can be isolating. I met a couple of KTP Associates, and we collaborated on the success of sustainability. We now have a podcast called People’s Planet Podcast.”


Would you recommend the KTP Management training to other graduates/postgraduates? Why?

“Yes. The KTP Management training gives an opportunity to learn both theoretical and practical aspects of management and leadership from a business point of view. The location and premises for this training are absolutely stunning and provide a calm and peaceful environment for training and development. We were able to reflect on the learning at the end of the day and take in the information at our own pace.”


What 3 words best describe your experience at Ashorne Hill?

“Excellent, insightful, calm.”

We are delighted that Dr Sikander enjoyed his time at Ashorne Hill and that he has been able to take his learning away into in his KTP project. Find out more about how Ashorne Hill can help your organisation by enquiring now.