It Just Takes One…Engineer

This is a guest article by Rachael Dalton-Taggart, Acting President of the CAD Society.

Anyone who has read my recent CAD Society articles or heard my presentations will already be used to the mantra:  Engineering is not being chosen by the majority of kids in the western world because of its bad rap. In fact, survey data suggests that more parents encourage their kids to be actors than engineers. I believe that kids (and parents) can easily choose engineering, if they were in fact educated about what it is, as opposed to being subjected to the constant media blitz of Hollywood, ‘Extra’, ‘People’ magazine, ‘US’ magazine, etc.

To crystallize this, my nephew, living in the UK, is currently pursuing media studies and math at the age of 16. But this summer he made an unexpected  visit to an engineering center (that happens to be in the F1 Triangle). He sent the email below as a result. It would seem that engineering is a possibility in his future. For all you engineers out there, what would you advise him to do? (Please send comments)

(Note: There has been no editing to this message. This is his own work which is pretty good for a 16 year old.)

Hethel Engineering Centre – The point of view from a 16 year old
Adam Latham, Norwich, UK

It’s hard for a person like me to work out what to do in the future. There are so many different opportunities and so many different paths to take and there is that worry that I might take a route that is not suited for me and end up somewhere I don’t want to be. I envy the people that know exactly what they are going to do in the future.

Because of my love of maths though, I had the opportunity to go to the Hethel Engineering Centre in Norfolk on a school visit. Hethel is a small place in the middle of Norfolk, England. Some of you may know about the car manufacturer Lotus who build their cars right next door to the Engineering Centre and work closely with the companies held within.

There are about 15 different companies based within the centre although when I visited there were almost 30 different companies on site showing off some of their technology and career opportunities. To name a few, Scion Sprays, P1 Motorsport, HAAS and Active Technologies.

It was a brilliant experience to find out all about the things that were being developed on the site. Scion Sprays is a company dedicated to fuel injection systems for small engines. They have been working for 5 years on the development of a brand new piece of kit for motorbikes and mopeds that not only makes the fuel injection kit small, but doubles the MPG and enables a limited throttle control, therefore getting rid of the need for a limiter on the bike. Then if you wanted to get rid of the limitation of the throttle, because it is computer controlled, all you need to do is upload the new software to make this so. It’s a fantastic bit of kit.

Stepping away from the automotive side of things there was a company called C-MAC MicroTechnology who specialise in designing micro chips that can carry on working in some of the harshest environments for all sorts of companies around the world. They have some of their chips in the Airbus A380, Circulating the earth up in space and in some missiles around the world.

One thing I got from almost all the engineers I talked to was that there are two things needed when going into engineering. Maths plays a big part in Engineering. You don’t have to be a maths genius but a good knowledge of maths really helps you in an engineering job. The second thing is a passion. One guy even went as far as to say that the grades you get from school doesn’t mean that much. The most important thing is that you come into somewhere you wish to work and you come straight out and ask the boss for one. This shows a dedication showing that you really want the job even when you may be scared about what you are about to say.

I have been really inspired by what I saw at the centre. I still do not have a clue about what I’m going to do in the future but my eyes have really been opened to the possibility of me entering the career of engineering. As one engineer said, “There is a shortage of engineers across the globe,” could I be the one to fill this gap?

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