Education and qualifications:
NVQ Level 3 Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS)
BSc Metallurgy: Brunel University
O and A Levels at Grammar School
Sill Lighting UK Ltd
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I was always fascinated as to how things worked as a child; Lego was my favourite toy. At school I enjoyed woodwork and metalwork, and this inspired me to take Design Technology at A Level. My teacher in those subjects encouraged me to study an engineering degree.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
I am now the UK Manager of Sill Lighting UK having previously been the Technical Manager. I am responsible for all technical aspects of Sill Lighting in the UK. I produce lighting designs and provide clients with technical assistance to select the correct product. With the assistance of an external software house, I built and maintain the company website. I write and present Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions for clients on all aspects of lighting, I am a regular lecturer on the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) Exterior Lighting Diploma and also run day courses for the ILP.
Can you describe a typical working day?
This can be very varied, ranging from a complex lighting design of a swimming pool, to visiting clients to discuss lighting installation details, advising on wiring, bespoke mounting brackets and control switching.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Over the last year I have learnt to use 3D CAD software, mainly self-taught, and also the complexities of architectural lighting using 3D visualisation software.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
The fact that every day is different and also the fact that there is a visible end product when a lighting scheme is installed and commissioned. I can say “I had a part in that”.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I was employed as an expert witness in a lighting design copyright case. Although I was employed by a former employer, my duties were to the court to provide impartial technical advice. The fact that the judge followed my advice on several areas of the design rights was particularly pleasing.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
My employer at the time was very supportive and paid for my Affiliate membership of the ILP. At that time, I was working in product design and my engineering degree was accredited which helped immensely in achieving Chartered status through the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), who were then known as the Institute of Materials. My university tutor also played a big part in this, giving me guidance on how to write my application and encouraging me to become registered.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Within a few months of getting Chartered I was able to gain full Member status with the ILP after demonstrating my experience in lighting, showing clients and colleagues my competence in this area. As my career progressed, I decided that the ILP was more relevant to my experience than the IOM3 and I cancelled my membership and transferred my CEng registration to the ILP.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
My employer publishes my post nominals on my business card and also on my profile on the company website. This demonstrates that technical advice and design work from Sill Lighting is provided by a competent person.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Always record your CPD at whatever stage you are in your career. In a fast-moving technological world, you are always learning something new. Being able to demonstrate that you are up to date with your chosen subject is essential.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
When work allows, I may consider putting my name forward for election as ILP President.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I have acted as an assessor of membership applications for the ILP for circa 10 years. I was elected as Vice President – Membership of the ILP in 2013 and served for nearly four years before being elected to the Board of the ILP as Assistant Honorary Treasurer. I still maintain the role of Chair of the Membership Committee.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering?
I am a model engineer and have a home workshop. I build 5 inch gauge locomotives, carriages and wagons. I have been fortunate enough that these have won medals and cups in national competitions.