Education and qualifications:
MEng, Mechatronic Engineering, Lancaster University
A levels in Maths, Physics, Design Technology and General Studies, West Kirby Grammar School
Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I’ve always loved making things and at school I particularly enjoyed Design Technology (DT). It was a DT teacher who mentioned engineering and before that I’d not really heard of it or realised that there was a career that embodied all of the subjects I really enjoyed at school.
Can you describe a typical working day?
As a new Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, writing this in September, I am currently preparing my lecture material for the upcoming academic year. I’m trying to make the lecture material engaging, both in terms of how it’s presented but also by demonstrating how it will be useful to the future careers of the students I’m teaching. I’m drawing on my industry knowledge heavily for this and I hope that the case studies I include of my experiences will give real context to the theory.
In addition, I’m researching areas around my field of interest and skills, in order to embark on my own research, which will hopefully have a real impact in the future.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
This year I have a cohort of 169 students to teach – which is somewhat daunting and somewhat of a challenge to keep everyone engaged, particularly when there will be a broad range of learning styles within the group. However, I’ve got a few ideas to try out and I will be closely monitoring what works and what doesn’t work so well.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I’m relatively new to this role, but so far I am enjoying trying to inspire the next generation of engineers. I’m also enjoying thinking about research no one has ever done before and relishing the challenge of making new discoveries or proposing new theories.
Is there a great professional achievement or high profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
Chartered status has been a goal of mine since the age of around 17 and is undoubtedly the aspect of my career to date that I’m most proud of, especially as there have been times when I’ve been unsure of whether I could achieve this as well as having a family.
As a result of my application for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status and the subsequent interview, I have also been awarded the Kathbert Trophy from the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED), which I received in July 2018.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
I’ve always pushed myself to aim high and have strived to become the best engineer I could be. To achieve this, I wanted to be recognised as a professional engineer who is respected in their field and Chartered status really embodies this.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Registration has given me instant credibility when introducing myself at conferences or to new clients or potential collaborators, it’s an accolade that is widely recognised and highly regarded. It’s given me a boost in confidence and determination to keep pushing myself to achieve more great things.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Having a lecturer who has achieved CEng status, something that a lot of undergraduates have on their radar to achieve in the future, gives credibility to the knowledge I’m imparting. It also adds to the breadth of experience within the department, ranging from highly academic and theoretical through to applied engineering practice. This is important not only for the students, but also for external companies working with Lancaster University, to strengthen funding bids and to feed into collaborative research.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Keep a good record of all of your achievements throughout your career, even if at the time they don’t seem significant. It will make writing your professional review report that little bit easier. There were achievements earlier on in my career that I’d totally forgotten about when it came to writing the report but thankfully that I’d kept a record of and subsequently included.
It’s definitely a worthwhile process, experience and achievement when you are awarded CEng.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
Having recently started a new job as a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, but not having worked in academia previously, I hope to bring the knowledge I’ve gained from industry into the teaching and research I undertake in the future. I’m going to embark on a PhD in the not too distant future and aim to have that completed within the next five years.
Do you participate in any other career-related activities, such as mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I’m a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador and support a lot of STEM events that happen in the local area, but particularly at my alma mater Lancaster University. I also take part in the career mentoring scheme that Lancaster University runs, which partners a second year student up with someone in a career that they hope to go into after graduating.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering?
I love cycling and pretend to love running too, however they don’t really relate to engineering but do refresh my brain which makes me more focused at work!
I also enjoy sewing and trying to make clothes. Following patterns/instructions and ensuring I’m precise in my measuring, cutting and stitching draws a lot of parallels with the skill set I use for engineering, which I think is why I enjoy it so much.