Trying to answer as many questions for you guys as I can before tomorrow!
RAF Search and Rescue Helicopters in Cornwall and Devon, RAF Tornado Fast Jets in Norfolk and RAF Chinook Helicopters in Hampshire
I am part of the RAF Engagement Team in the South West, specialising in the encouragement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers in the RAF
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Fast Jet and Helicopter Engineer
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My Typical Day: Problem solving to fix mechanical systems on Royal Air Force aircraft
In the Royal Air Force good Teamwork is really important, and as a Mechanical Aircraft Engineer on a busy Royal Air Force Chinook Helicopter Squadron, I would be working as part of a 60 person team.
A typical day would start by arriving at work and finding out which helicopters are broken, why they are broken and most importantly for me – how we can fix them!
There might be an engine that needs replacing and I would ususally be put in charge of picking my team (a bit like football in the playground!) and then making sure everyone knows what they are doing, good Leadership is also really important in my job.
We then use our helicopter instructions (a bit like a LEGO set!) to carefully take the old engine off and put a new engine on. Everyone in the team would be working together and everyone will have to talk and listen to each other to keep the team safe. We could be working outdoors, in a desert or on a ship with lots of noise so great Communication means we get the job done well and importantly, everybody stays safe.
After the job we would all sit down and have a cup of tea and talk about want went well and maybe what didn’t go so well. This is so that we can all learn lessons and hopefully not make the same mistake twice!
What I'd do with the money
Invest in exciting activities that ensure students stay engaged and excited about Engineering careers throughout their education.
As a kid I LOVED to play with building toys. Taking things to bits and building new things using only my imagination was my favourite hobby and I would spend hours in my bedroom building and designing huge cities (a bit like LEGO Movie!).
As a Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) Ambassador I have met hundreds of kids at Primary Schools who all share my love of engineering but somewhere between the end of Primary School and the end of GCSE’s, the majority of these talented (and potentially awesome!) future engineers have chosen other subjects to study at College and University.
My question, is WHY?
I think that engineering isn’t something that children are really aware of, we always see teaching, police, doctor related programmes on TV but when do we ever see one about engineering?! I also think that a lot of kids think you have to have top grades in science and maths to be an engineer when really being passionate about it, working hard and having good teamwork, leadership and communication skills are just as important and I would love to invest any money from this event in keeping kids like I was, interested in a career path that is every bit as cool and fun and exciting as being a teacher or a doctor or an athlete (if not more!)
The last question is HOW?
Thats where you guys come in! It would be easy (ish!) for me to invent an activity to try and excite students about engineering, but what do I know?! I’m not getting any younger – as my kids keep reminding me! – so I would invest the money in talking and most importantly listening to what interests and excites you all about engineering and how I as an engineer can work with you in becoming engineers of the future!
The money would be a great start in running engineering forums and workshops with students as they start secondary school, finding out what they enjoy, how it relates to engineering and hopefully encouraging them to have the confidence to bring out the inner LEGO kid that is inside all of us!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Positive, Dedicated, Fun!
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Carried out emergency repairs in Afghanistan to the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) Chinook helicopter, enabling the aircraft to continue vital life saving missions.
What did you want to be after you left school?
A Royal Air Force Aircraft Engineer
Were you ever in trouble at school?
A few times – mainly for being late and wearing trainers!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Definitely a teacher, I’ve done instructional work and team building in schools with the Royal Air Force and found it really rewarding.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I was a Royal Air Force steward at Wimbledon Tennis Championships in 2013 (see my photos!)
Tell us a joke.
How do NASA organise their parties? They Planet!