Been a blast guys! Thanks :)
Started out part time waiting and then got my apprenticeship! have worked here ever since.
Mechanical Design Engineer
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Mechanical Design Engineer working with scientists on a wide range of projects from the huge to the tiny!
I dropped out of A levels after getting B, B, D in As (Maths, Chemistry, Physics respectively). It was then that I (through some luck and some hard work) secured my apprenticeship here at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
For the following four years I worked in different departments across site (and even outside of the country!) gaining skills in how to make and design things. This was coupled with working to get various qualifications and making some great friends along the way. Once I had completed My apprenticeship I was offered a position in the Technology Department’s ‘Project Engineering Group’ where I had spent in total about a year of my apprenticeship.
I am now in my third year working within the group. I am involved with massive international collaborations which are pushing the boundaries of science and technology. I help to research and develop things which have never been achieved or even attempted before. My role as an engineer within these groups is to figure out how to make things work. (This won’t just be me on my own, there are typically many more engineers working as a team) Once we have a concept I will then use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to produce a 3D model and following that, 2D drawings which allow other engineers to make the final product. Working within Project Engineering Group, the fun doesn’t stop there! We are often heavily involved with the installation and even the use and maintenance of these projects also.
My Typical Day
Coffee, e-mails, CAD, Sport, Phone Calls, Meetings, Playing with fun and cool stuff like superconducting magnets!
It is difficult to describe a ‘typical day’ because they are rarely the same. One constant, however, is coffee first thing.
A large part of being a design engineer is communication and throughout my day I communicate in many different ways.
Often I will communicate by email, whether it is to set up a meeting to discuss different design options or timescales or to order some parts or even just send a link that might be of interest.
Many times I will be talking with people, either face to face or on the phone in order to check up on the progress of an order or to confirm some details perhaps.
Even when I am using the CAD software I am communicating as the 2D drawings I produce to be sent out have to be read by someone else and need to very clearly communicate exactly what it is that I want them to make. If I fail to do this properly then the parts may come back to me incorrect or at the very least I will get a frustrated phone call asking for clarification!
One huge bonus to working at RAL is that outside of work time we have a huge array of things to do, from sports clubs to a bar with a pool table. There’s always something to fill a lunchtime or an hour or two after work with!
What I'd do with the money
SPACE RACE – The board game!
I have designed and developed a board game called SPACE RACE!
Imagine a cross between Monopoly, Trivial Pursuits and Mouse Trap… All with spacey edge.
The object of the game is to collect parts for your space mission either by purchasing them or answering space related questions depending on the square you’ve landed on. But beware! If you hit Disaster you’ll lose parts! Once you have collected all the parts you need it’s a race to reach Launch! First one there get’s to launch their assembled rocket into space (well, maybe not quite ‘space’ but it will have some ooomf to it, so make sure you stand well clear!)
If I were to win, I would spend the money on producing some professional quality boxed up games to send to schools to be used either for revision (the questions are loosely based around the curriculum and there are 2/3 sets for different ages) or just as a tool to help students learn and get enthusiastic about space and of course, engineering!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Logical, Creative, Driven.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Worked in Grenoble in the south of France for a month in the summer, stripping out and rebuilding part of a Synchrotron.
What did you want to be after you left school?
A design engineer!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I had been known to get a detention or two…once for ”wielding a six foot fluorescent tube [like a light sabre]” (use the force Luke!)…I should say that fluorescent tubes of any length are extremely dangerous and should never be wielded.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I’d be a chef…or maybe a park ranger in the USA…
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I listen to a lot of different things, but right now a local band called Spring Offensive are regularly on my Spotify. Check them out!
What's your favourite food?
A spanish desert called Torrijas. It’s a bit like french toast, but infinitely more delicious.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
A couple of years ago I organised a few friends together to canoe from the source of the Thames to the point that it becomes tidal. 135 miles! We raised over £1500 for Help for Heroes and had an amazing time doing it!!
Tell us a joke.
Whatever you do in life always give 100%… Unless you are donating blood.