Give engineering a chance

What would you do if your son told you he wanted to be an engineer? Try to talk him out of it? Not Peter Clark. He’s providing all the encouragement he can.

‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can’t take quiet desperation’ – from the 1945 film ‘The Lost Weekend’, written by Charles Brackett.

What would you do if your son told you he wanted to be an engineer? Try to talk him out of it? Not Peter Clark. After all, from an early age, he could tell his son James was interested in the subject. You’ve met the type of kid. The sort that’s always asking questions about the what’s, why’s and how’s of whatever you happen to be working on. The sort of kid that spends hours on your computer hacking away at all the CAD and CAM programmes he can find.

Yes, he’s wanted to be an engineer from the year dot. Hardly surprising really, because of his dad’s influence. A toolmaker by trade, his dad got his own engineering company Minimould up and running several years ago with just a £1000 Barclaycard loan – enough cash to buy a moulding machine, a lathe and a Jig borer.

And despite the fact that there were lots of long hours, late nights and lost weekends, good old James has still not been intimidated by the thought of becoming an engineer. After learning some basic programming, he’s moved onto graphics and animations. He’s designed and published a web site, learned how to use FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks and a bunch of scripting languages too. He can even do some ‘C’ stuff too.

But it’s the summertime. And now, eighteen-year old James is looking for a summer job where he can put some of his computer systems skills to use. But can he find one? No, he can’t. For despite sending out lots of letters to lots of folks in the UK engineering business, he’s not getting any response.

James wants to be a programmer and he’d like to get some work experience in a company that’s doing something interesting. He’s keen on the aerospace industry and would love to get involved in software projects that involve stress analysis, thermodynamics or fluid analysis. He took his last exam at his first year of college last week and he predicts that he’s going to get some good grades.

So do you know anyone out there that can help this chap out? After all, it’s not everyday that someone says that they actually want to be an engineer. And it’s up those of us that are to see if we can help out. Because if we don’t, no-one else will. And the worst thing that could happen is that James ends up flipping burgers by the highway.

What do you say? If you’d like to contact his dad with some good news, drop him a line at