Education and qualifications:
Bachelors Degree in Engineering, The Open University
Foundation Degree in Engineering, The Open University
HNC Mechanical Engineering, Glasgow Clyde College
Project Engineer – Process and Energy
What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
In school I had a particular interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) extracurricular activities and was involved in the Engineering Education Scheme in S5-6. Coincidentally, this project was working in collaboration with my current employer. My interest in the engineering field stems from having a questioning attitude about how and why things work.
Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
In my current role at Wood plc, I am responsible for the technical management of mechanical, process, electrical, control/instrumentation and civil/structural engineering across an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) portfolio of minor modification projects on an Ethylene production facility.
Can you describe a typical working day?
A typical day consists of meeting discipline engineers to provide technical steering across the portfolio of projects. This is to ensure full understanding of their scopes of work, manage technical queries between us and the client, look after vendor packages and supporting a number of key design safety reviews in order for our team to design and implement our projects safely.
Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
This type of role working on client sites requires me to manage a multi-disciplinary engineering team. To do this effectively, a broad knowledge of each engineering discipline is required to ensure tasks are appropriately estimated and carried out. This means one needs to take a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ approach through self-study.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
There is a good mix of technical knowledge and soft skills involved in this role. As a Project Engineer, it is important to use an in-depth knowledge of engineering management and use the support from other disciplines to ensure accurate, safe, compliant project delivery, but how the client interprets our information is also equally important. This calls upon my written and verbal communication and client relationship skills.
Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
In August 2020, I was a joint recipient of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Engineering Technician of the Year, for my commitment to professional development and having made a positive difference to my company. During my time as an apprentice, I also received six other honours, two of which were back-to-back awards. I have since been awarded a Whitworth Scholarship to support continuing study, an accolade awarded to less that 12 young engineers per year.
What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
During my apprenticeship, my welding lecturer drummed professional registration into us at every opportunity he could. After being exposed to some high responsibility roles throughout my apprenticeship, I read up on the criteria for registration with The Welding Institute and my experience at that time. I was a registered Engineering Technician (EngTech) at the age of 19.
As my career has progressed, it has remained important to me to keep myself accountable for my professional development, and ensure that I benchmark my progress with professional registration. It was because of this that I was able to be recognised as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) by the age of 25.
In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Being professionally registered opens up new avenues of training and professional development, and also gives you access to a wide community of like-minded engineers who can share resources and expertise on a particular subject. It also helps to build a professional network of peers through institution events.
How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Employers benefit from having professional registrants when bidding for prospective work, as this gives clients confidence that the people being supplied for work meet a minimum benchmark of requirements to be suitably qualified and experienced.
Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
Keep a note of everything you do in your career, major products, times of self-development, lessons learned from successes and areas for improvement. This will help with and galvanise your application which will also make you a much more attractive employee.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
In five years time, I hope to have completed a MSc in Engineering Project Management and have gained the experience required to become an Engineering Manager. I would like to be an influencing member of our apprentice recruitment team, being acutely aware of what type of character is needed to complete a modern apprenticeship and exactly what it entails.
Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
I am an active STEM ambassador within Wood, and have supported local primary and high school events such as career fairs, stalls at parents evenings and educational events. Also, I work with prospective apprenticeship applicants to help them prepare for interviews and assessment centres, and support them as a non-managerial point of contact throughout their time as an apprentice.