- MEng Mechanical Engineering
I had always considered Swansea as an option for university due to being so fond of the area itself but had confirmed this decision following a visit to the Bay Campus back in 2016. When visiting the campus for an Open Day I was extremely impressed with the technology that the College of Engineering had to offer, and also really enjoyed the new and fresh feeling that the campus had, having only opened the previous year.
Do you remember what first sparked your interest in mechanical engineering?
I decided to study Engineering following a passion for problem-solving and an urge to understand more about the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ of the way that things worked. I enjoyed subjects such as Maths, Science, and Design Technology at School and therefore found that engineering fully encompassed all aspects of those subjects that I was most intrigued about. I chose to study mechanical engineering as it seemed to be the broadest of all engineering subjects offered at Swansea and therefore was the most appealing to me as I did not have an interest in any specific area of engineering at that time.
Looking back, what were some of your favourite classes, and why?
I particularly enjoyed a module in 3rd year called Manufacturing Optimisation, as we were taught a lot of Lean-Six Sigma techniques which are used in manufacturing industries worldwide, and are also used by Renishaw, who I now work for. This module was probably the most beneficial to me in terms of the job that I have now ended up in.
Another module I particularly enjoyed was called ‘Digital Manufacturing’ undertaken in our second year. For this module, we had to work in groups to build an Ultimaker 3D Printer, and then use that machine to 3D print a part that we had designed ourselves.
Would you say your time at Swansea University prepared you for the professional world? If so, how?
There were several modules throughout the degree which aimed to prepare students for the professional world, although nothing can possibly prepare you fully until you have experienced it for yourself. One thing that Swansea are passionate about is encouraging students to complete Industrial/Summer placements, in order to gain some experience prior to graduating. I feel that this is particularly beneficial as it allows students to explore different aspects of the engineering industry prior to committing to a full-time job, but also aids students in an academic sense as they have a better understanding of how engineering principles are applied in the real world.
Renishaw is a renowned engineering company. Could you tell us about the kind of projects or technologies you work on?
I have just completed a 2-year Manufacturing Mechanical Graduate Scheme. During this scheme, I have worked as a Process Improvement Engineer, Production Engineer, Section Leader (Supervisor), and Project Engineer. I am based at Renishaw’s Manufacturing site at Miskin, the products I have had the most exposure to are Incremental and Absolute Encoders. An Encoder is an electro-mechanical sensor that detects a physical measurement and converts it into a ‘coded’ signal which can then be interpreted by a motion control system or PC, measuring as accurately as 1 nanometre! For this reason, they are used widely across all forms of manufacturing where high precision is critical, such as the automotive and aeronautical industries.
The journey from being a student to becoming a professional engineer is filled with learning experiences. What advice would you give to current students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swansea University who aspire to make a significant impact in their careers?
One key piece of advice that I was told by a colleague recently is that you should never be afraid to make a mistake and that anybody who has never made a mistake has never learnt anything. Essentially, the professional engineering world can be very different to the textbook-style engineering that we learn at university, and through adapting to those changes you will undoubtedly make mistakes, but the most important thing is that you learn from those mistakes, and carry that knowledge forward with you. In the long run, you will be a better engineer for having made those mistakes in the first place.