20 November 2014
James Winson, Assistant Telecoms Engineer at Atkins Global, has been announced as the winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Technician of the Year. He was awarded his prize at a prestigious Awards ceremony hosted by science presenter Steve Mould, on 19 November in London.
There is currently a high demand for engineers, and increasingly, apprentices and technicians, just like James, are plugging the skills gap. Throughout his training, James gained experience in the installation, test and design function which has given him a thorough understanding of design constraints.
In 2013 James started working as the Telecoms Design Engineer for a number of projects under the London Underground (LU) Station Stabilisation Program, worth £330 million. The program aims to upgrade outdated equipment across the underground network.
Here, James’ objective was to work collaboratively with LU engineers to design new telecoms systems for their stations. Starting with Earl's Court, his role was to introduce new internet technologies such as local area networking, which is a computer network system that links computers within small areas using network media, and high definition CCTV onto the LU infrastructure to create better, more reliable, future-proof communication systems.
James was also asked to tackle a noise issue at the west London station – here he had to design a PA system of delivering announcements which complied with London Underground standards, and also satisfied the requirements of the noise order issued by the local council. James worked with an acoustic consultant to provide a suitable solution – an industry first.
Within his role at Atkins Global, much of his time is spent working with the offshore team in India, and across different disciplines to ensure the telecoms design is as co-ordinated with other projects as possible.
James has said: “I am extremely proud that my achievements have been recognised in this way. Engineering is not just about fixing cars or household electrical problems, I hope my work shows that, and that more young people will be encouraged to join the sector in the coming years.”
James’ award includes a £1,000 prize and two years free membership of the IET. Winners are also entitled to payment of professional registration fees, if not already registered.
William Webb, IET President, said: “James should be very proud to have been named the IET Technician of the Year, as he was selected from an exemplary field of candidates. The award recognises that he is an exceptional individual working in his field.
“Engineers and technicians are essential to the success of engineering companies, but rarely receive accolades for their contribution to that success. These awards provide an opportunity for all in the profession to celebrate the best apprentices and technicians.”
The Apprentice and Technician Awards are part of the IET’s Inspiring Engineering Excellence Awards Series, which this year provided over £1million in awards, prizes and scholarships to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and encourage the next generation of engineers and technicians. All IET awards seek to inspire engineering excellence, including apprentices at the start of their careers, through to fully established professional engineers and technicians.
A spokesperson from GCHQ, which is a sponsor of the Achievement awards programme and ceremony, said: "The Apprentice and Technician Awards scheme is a particularly special scheme because it acknowledges the significant impact that young people are having on engineering businesses through boosting productivity and enhancing the skills base. Modern apprenticeships in particular are a genuine alternative to University education and lead to just as rewarding a career path. Congratulations to the winners!"