What initially led you towards mechanical engineering?
I had initially been led to mechanical engineering through my college, who suggested I take part in competitions when I started doing my course in 2011.
Was CAD something you had any experience of before starting the course at New College Lanarkshire?
I had used the software during my final two school years in Graphic Communication and developed a fair amount of interest in using the software. People suggested I apply to the course at New College Lanarkshire, which was at the time called Motherwell College.
Can you explain the difference between Squad UK and Team UK? How are the two selected?
The difference between Squad UK and Team UK is the selection process. This year at The Skills Show we witnessed a Squad selection event which took all available age eligible candidates at The Skills Show and took the best of them to compete within Squad. Now the Squad will work and train together for the good part of a year until the Team selection comes round which will take, for example, the five in a certain skill who made Squad, and compete them against each other to determine the best. The best will then go on to represent the UK in Abu Dhabi for their chosen skill in Team UK.
What do the skills competitions actually consist of? Did the challenges get more difficult as you progressed from UK, to Euros, to the Worlds?
The skill that I competed in, Mechanical Engineering Design: CAD, consists of four modules. At National level, e.g. The Skills Show, you would only do a smaller section of each of these modules whereas at EuroSkills and WorldSkills you would do them all to an incredibly high intensity over a four day competition period.
Module one would consist of a high volume of part modelling, assemblies, drawing creation for parts and assemblies, animations and still renders. Module two would consist of steel work such as folded sheet metal components, structural steel frames, welding, GDT and also drawing creation for parts/assemblies including flat patterns for sheet metal and welding details for frame, where requested.
Module three would be based around a design change/improvement to allow the competitor to be able to prove their knowledge and design capability and Module 4 would consist of a reverse engineering day where you would be presented with a part which would require to be reverse engineered and after two hours the part is removed. The following two hours consists of re-creating a part drawing in order for the part to be recreated and image/images to be rendered of the finished part.
Can you tell us a bit about the trip to Brazil for WorldSkills?
The trip to Brazil was incredible – having the experience to see another country and culture was surreal! We were there for about a week and a half, with one day of familiarisation and four days of competition. During the hours outside of competition we were able to socialise with competitors from other countries, as all the competitors were staying in the same hotel. This was great as there were hundreds of competitors from all sorts of different countries.
What sort of areas is Pacson Valves involved in, and what’s your role?
Pacson Valves ltd designs and manufactures valves for subsea and topside use within the oil & gas industry. My position in the company is Mechanical Designer, meaning that I currently work in the design office along with other engineers. This consists of designing bespoke valve designs to customer requests such as pressures, temperature ratings etc along with meeting international standards such as API 17D with a design standard relating to Subsea Wellhead and Tree Equipment.
Are you finished with World Skills now, or is there more you can get involved with?
I am not finished with Worldskills yet. Worldskills UK has a Champion programme in which past competitors can stay and get involved with training, go to events to judge, and help with stand work. This allows other young people to be inspired by their story and want to further their careers through competitions.