John found a professional home for life in the IET, which supported him in the transition from the Royal Navy to “Civvy Street”, as well as achieving IEng professional registration.
“Following a period of several years, often feeling like a ship without a compass, I discovered the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (which later merged with the IEE to become the IET), which immediately linked me up with other like-minded, practically oriented members, providing advice during the realignment and accreditation of my naval qualifications, through to a Higher National Certificate.”
At a very early age it became apparent to John that he possessed a fascination for all things technical, much to the frustration of his parents, as he dismantled all his toys in an attempt to discover how they worked. However as a teenager he realised that his lack of confidence, coupled with an aversion of exams, would make things difficult if he chose to pursue an academic route into electrical engineering.
“Fortunately at the age of fifteen, the Royal Navy captured my enthusiasm and provided me with the opportunity to become firstly a marine engineering mechanic second class on ships and later a weapons electrical mechanic, transferred to nuclear submarines. The Royal Navy provided the incentives and teaching methods which would both improve my personal confidence and realise my technical potential,” he enthuses.
After eight years in the Royal Navy, John joined the Ministry of Defence (Navy) fulfilling many roles, but predominantly commissioning strategic weapons support systems on submarines. In 2004 he was listed within The Queen’s Birthday Honours List and awarded an MBE for “Service to the Defence Industry”.
When moving on, John found the transition to “Civvy Street” tough, not least because he had lost the Navy as his career mentor.
“Following a period of several years, often feeling like a ship without a compass, I discovered the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (which later merged with the IEE to become the IET), which immediately linked me up with other like-minded, practically oriented members, providing advice during the realignment and accreditation of my naval qualifications, through to a Higher National Certificate,” John explains.
As well as gaining a lot of career support and making new acquaintances in his sector, John became an active member and also gave back to the community, through speaking at technical events and career fairs.
“As a member I not only received advice and mentorship augmented by information keeping me abreast of new developments, I also had the privilege of providing talks relating to a new laser technology I was developing for a large defence organisation. This subsequently provided me with the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for all things technical and at the same time encourage young people at school and college career events to consider engineering as a career.”
John currently works as a delivery manager for specialist design and manufacturing company NIS Limited, fulfilling a technical biased account management role at a nuclear defence installation.
“I possess an insatiable fascination for all things technical and would like to think that I am both an innovator and an effective solutions facilitator – my current role is within a very unique environment with unique and fascinating challenges, providing ample opportunity for me to engage with and support like-minded people,” he explains.
Primarily he assists a diverse array of clients with identifying solutions challenging engineering design and manufacturing needs. However his secondary role is to monitor the status and emerging requirements and developing relationships associated with the planned new power stations, commonly referred to as the “Nuclear New Build”.
“The Nuclear New Build work is fascinating given the vast array of technologies within each of the proposed nuclear power plants,” John highlights.
As John considers himself a “non academic, practically orientated person”, professional registration was, for him, a pinnacle in his career.
“It represents recognition of my aggregated experience and is symbolic of my perseverance in studying,” he says. “However, the real value of registration was realised afterwards, which includes the recognition as an Incorporated Engineer (that you are a practically, rather than academically biased engineer), the link with other like-minded people and access to and insight of other areas of engineering.
“I am an enthusiastic advocate for encouraging engineers to seek registration, as otherwise their talents and skills may not be recognised within industry and their full potential not realised. Professional registration for me communicates a clear understanding of my experience and capability to fellow engineers and prospective employers,” he adds.