• Question: what is a good way to develop engineering skills?

    Asked by donught7 to Marcus on 25 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Marcus Johns

      Marcus Johns answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      There’s a few things that you can do that could help you develop engineering skills. At secondary school I did industrial technology for GCSE which introduced the idea of designing things on a mass scale – we had to make a hand-operated machine that would bend a piece of aluminium into a hook.

      I took part in the Engineering Education Scheme in 6th form in which 4 of us worked with Horlicks to come up with a way to detect whether a giant spinning sieve was balanced or not – the vibrations caused by the sieve when it wasn’t balanced was causing valves in the factory to fail. There’s plenty of other schemes and competitions designed for secondary school students out there; so if your school doesn’t do anything at the moment, get a few friends who are also interested in doing something and ask one of your teachers whether it would be possible to join one of the schemes!

      I also took part in a summer school designed for students who were interested in doing engineering at university but weren’t sure about which type of engineering to get into. I spent a week at Swansea university learning about materials engineering, aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering and mechanical engineering.

      Being an engineer you need to be able to work in a team. So if you take part in a team sport or play a musical instrument in a band, you’re already developing skills without realising it!