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My role

My role as workshop supervisor is to oversee the day to day running of the departmental workshops, which includes:

  • Meeting with the customer and discussing their requirements and when needed, guiding them on the best most cost affective way of producing the parts they need
  • Plan the work schedule and issue jobs to our technicians
  • Log times spent on each project
  • Ensure our tool store is kept stocked
  • Procure any special materials or tooling required
  • Arrange repair/service of our machine tools
  • Plan work for our apprentices, to expand their skill set whilst servicing the departments needs

What training have you undertaken with support from the University and how has it helped you in your role?

Over the last 28 years, training has been a vital part of my role in the machine shop allowing me to use existing and new machines to their strengths. Some of the training the university has supported me in includes:

  • BTEC qualification in engineering
  • Computer controlled machine (CNC) programming
  • Computer aided design (CAD)
  • Introduction to vacuum systems
  • Computer aided design-computer aided manufacture (cad-cam)

These qualifications and courses aided me in the design and manufacture of some very complex pieces of apparatus for the Lab.

More recently, as I have moved into a managerial role, the University encouraged me to take the ILM level 3 management course run by PPD to help with the transition. I found this course very useful in helping me identify what is expected of a manager. It gave me some key knowledge and techniques that I now use daily, including: project management; time management; identifying staff wants and needs.

Supporting others

Unlike a lot of the engineering industry, we as a department expect our technicians to be multi skilled. As a result it is hard to find new staff with the array of knowledge we demand. We have often found the best way to deal with this is through ongoing training, either night classes at a local college, in house training or day courses run by companies across the country. The department is more than happy to fund these courses and when necessary overnight accommodation. This enables our technicians to gain a wide range of specialised skills and improve the quality of service the workshop can offer.

We also have a continuing apprentice scheme which is proving to be a big success. The apprentice is given the chance to gain a formal qualification through a day release college as well as on the job training with one of our skilled technicians, primarily in our workshops, but also with the different service departments and research groups within the lab. With the department being a teaching lab we have, at times, offered extra tuition for the apprentices with one of the many lecturers to help with their college work. Currently we have two technicians who have completed our apprentice training scheme and are now valued members of the workshop.